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HOT-3 missile with wings in extended position.
Source: Jwnabd - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license

Anti-tank missile
Entered service
Late 1970's
In service
Early to mid 1970's
France - Aérospatiale
Germany - MBB
1978 - present
France - Aérospatiale
France - Euromissile
France - MBDA
Number produced
Well over 85.000 produced
HOT / Haut subsonique, Optiquement téléguidé, Tiré d'un tube
French for "high subsonic, optically guided, tube launched"
Euromissile 1 (project name)
HOT K150 (HOT-2 development name)



The HOT is a late Cold War era anti-tank missile of French/German origin. It was developed in the early and mid 1970's to replace the SS.11 missile. The name HOT stands for "Haut subsonique, Optiquement téléguidé, Tiré d'un tube", this translates to "high subsonic, optically guided, tube launched". The performance is comparable to the American TOW missile and Soviet Konkurs (AT-5) missile.


The HOT missile is a wire guided anti-tank missile that is similar in general layout to the contemporary American TOW, Soviet Konkurs and British Swingfire. The HOT has a shaped HEAT warhead in the nose which is followed by a guidance section and solid fuel rocket with booster section for inititial velocity. The missile is carried in a launch canister and the four wings at the rear of the missile are folded within the tube. The HOT uses SACLOS guidance with a 4.3 km command wire extending from the missile.


The HOT is a powerful anti-tank missile with good penetration characteristics. The HOT-1 HEAT warhead penetrates 800 mm RHA, the HOT-2 does 900 mm and the tandem HEAT warhead on the HOT-3 penetrates 1.250 mm behind ERA. It is also effective against bunkers and light vehicles, but of limited use against infantry in the open. The maximum range is 4 km and the flight speed is about 850 km/h. The SACLOS guidance results in good accuracy, even against moving targets.

Launch platforms

The HOT is used on a wide range of vehicles and helicopters. The HOT was first employed on dedicated anti-tank vehicles such as the German Jaguar and French VAB-VCAC with Mephisto turret. Turrets such as the Mephisto, UTM-800 and Lancelot have been mounted on various wheeled and tracked vehicles. The HOT is commonly used on the French Gazelle helicopter which can carry up to four missiles and has a stabilized roof sight. The BO-105, Tiger and Rooivalk are also able to carry and launch the HOT. A large and cumbersome manpack installation has also been developed


The HOT was initially adopted by France and Germany and was exported to a wide range of European, Middle Eastern and African nations. In modern armies the HOT is gradually being replaced by newer and more capable designs, but it remains in widespread use in many other areas of the world.



HOT-2 missile in French museum.
Source: - © copyright lies with original owner

Original HOT missile produced since 1978. Fitted with 136mm diameter shaped charge HEAT warhead.
Improved HOT-1 introduced in 1985. Has a 150mm diameter warhead for increased penetration. The missile body is lighter to compensate for the increased weight.
Multi Purpose version of HOT-2 introduced in 1986. Fitted with penetrating blast fragmentation warhead for use against buildings, fortified positions and all vehicles except tanks.
Final version introduced in 1993 and previously called HOT-2T. Has a tandem shaped charge HEAT warhead for much increased penetration and longer guidance wire.


Facts HOT-1 HOT-2 HOT-2MP HOT-3
Anti-tank missile
23.5 kg
136 mm
0.31 m
1.27 m
Wire guided
Operating mode
Single HEAT warhead
5 kg
850 mm RHA
Single-stage solid propellant rocket motor
75 m to 4.0 km
Max speed
864 km/h

Vehicle based launchers

VAB Mephisto

French army VAB VCAC during Operation Desert Shield.
Source: US Army - © public domain

Single rail launcher connected to 20 round magazine with automated reloading. Used on the German Jagdpanzer Jaguar 1.
Unmanned retractable turret with four HOT missiles ready to fire. Used on VAB-VCAC 4x4.
Two man low profile turret with large optical sight, laser range finder and two HOT missiles on each side. The Lancelot 1 is used in the AMX-10P and the Lancelot 3 in the Piranha 8x8.
One man low profile turret with large optical sight and two HOT missiles on each side. Used on VAB 6x6 UTM-800 and VCR/TH.
A single round pedestal mounted HOT missile launcher. It cannot be classified as a manpack launcher since it is much heavier than launchers for other similar size anti-tank missiles. The name ATLAS stands for Affut de Tir Leger Au Sol, which translates to light ground mount. The ATLAS has an optical sight and shield to protect the operator from the missile backblast. Production of the ATLAS system has been limited.

Helicopter based launchers

SA.342 Gazelle

SA.342 Gazelle launching a HOT-1 missile.
Source: - © copyright lies with original owner

The HOT missile is also widely used as helicopter armament. Early launchers are stub wings with 2 or 3 HOT missiles each. These are often used on the French Gazelle and German BO-105. Later a four round box launcher was introduced for use on the Dauphin and Tiger helicopters.

Target acquisition requires the use of the APX 397 day sight, Viviane day and night sight or the OSIRIS mast-mounted sight as used on the Tiger.


Launch platforms

Jaguar 1

The HOT missile is the primary armament of the German Jagdpanzer Jaguar 1 tank destroyer.

VAB Mephisto

The VAB Mephisto is a tank destroyer based on the 4x4 variant of the VAB chassis. It is fitted with a retractable launcher with four HOT anti-tank missiles ready to fire.

Related articles

9K113 Konkurs

The HOT missile has a similar role, design and performance as the contemporary Soviet 9K113 Konkurs (NATO: AT-5 Spandrel) anti-tank missile system, but lacks a similar manpack launcher.


The MILAN was acquired by both France and Germany as a short range manpack alternative alongside the HOT missile.