The Javelin has a range of 2 km not 2.5 km, it's absurdly expensive and its reliance on infrared guidance prolongs its launch time -- exposing the operators to fatal danger. The Metis-M1 can be launched as soon as the target has been observed -> which makes it superior for most battlefield engagements from a cost-effective standpoint.
The Russians/Soviets have already displayed Shtora EO jamming system and DIRCMS for aircraft... not to mention binocular sized laser beam systems designed to defeat optics like sniper scopes.... who seriously think that a missile with an IIR looking at a tank is going to get a nice clean lock and be launched at that tank and not be interfered with all the way to impact?
The Metis system is already widely deployed in service and sells very well on the international arms market... what actual benefit is there to try to make it fly further?
A small compact man portable system is fine the way it is... making it more expensive by adding thermal optics to the missile makes little real sense because it really would not improve performance in any way, but would dramatically increase costs. It makes more sense to have a much better quality IIR sensor on the launcher so you can spot targets for other units... even if you only engage the close ones, the information you send to HQ can be used for other platforms to engage later...
The mobility of three men on a battlefield will be pretty pathetic anyway... add a Tigr vehicle and you can have 8 ready to launch Kornets, plus a further 8 missile on board and likely two to three men to operate them with very good mobility and moderate protection...
It would be great if the replacement for the Metis-M1 is more advanced but just as compact and just as light.
Why the hurry to replace Metis-M1? Is it not working any more? If the US or UK had any brains they would licence produce it themselves but they are too arrogant to save that sort of money and get such a capable piece of kit into service...
With current technology they should be able to improve the launch unit to the size of a small cam corder that just clips on to the launch tube including a thermal camera...
I think it only requires a 4 km ability for stand off ranges in relation to tanks and IFVs -- platforms that can reliably shoot at operators from distances below 4 km.
With RPGs and flash bangs and small arms fire going off all over the place the launch of a Metis will hardly be noticed by most IFVs... plus with the low cost of the system means you can had dozens of systems there operating in a place where a much richer NATO country might only have one Javelin or Spike.
I'm not advocating for making the Metis-M1 more expensive; I certainly don't want to add optical seekers in front of every missile. I just think that a small complimentary tactical drone (with various onboard guidance systems) should be used to make the Metis-M1 more lethal without incurring the expense of incorporating the guidance on every missile.
If you are talking about a drone with optics to find targets then it makes rather more sense to load it with Kornet and have it shoot long range supersonic guided missiles at the targets it finds rather than try to pass target data down to individuals on the battlefield for them to find to launch 2km range Metis at...
Like you've already noted, most battlefield targets are bunkers and sniper posts, so using an expensive missile in those engagements is not at all cost-effective. Having a dedicated QWIP/electro-optical guided round for neutralising tanks (say 1 out of 10 missiles) seems sensible.
The problem is that next generation tanks will have all sorts of camouflage and there is no guarantee that an IIR would recognise a tank... they would already have trouble spotting a sniper or MG position or log bunker... which is why getting the operator to put a crosshair on what he wants hit makes more sense than trying to get a computerised automatic system to work it out.
With a ratio of 1 out 10 missiles for anti-tank operations, you could have an extremely capable round with a lock-after-launch capability and a semi-active laser guidance - like the Sokol-1. And you could have this capability while retaining the inexpensive Metis-M1 missiles for everything else.
I appreciate what you are saying, but how do you formulate the ratio before combat?
Metis-M1 already deals with any target... having a more expensive model that could be used for armoured vehicle targets does not really seem a good idea to me... especially when it will be more expensive... and to be honest we are talking about the Russian military... how many anti armour options would they have?
Dozens... literally... from laser guided artillery shells of 120mm mortar, 100mm, 122mm, 125mm, 152mm, 203mm, 240mm, and that is just gun tubes, then you have aircraft, and of course all your IFVS will have Kornet, plus the dedicated anti armour brigades within a division will have Krisantema and Ataka, and of course there will be Mi-28MN and Ka-52 and of course Su-25SM3 with Vikhr, Ataka, Krisantema, Hermes, and then you have rocket artillery with anti armour submunitions and guided anti armour munitions in 122mm, 220mm, and 300mm.
A smart, small rotary drone with various guidance systems can perform the role of target detection, identification and round guidance for the legacy Metis-M1 missiles.
It is reported that armata tank versions will have a drone that is tethered... so I presume it is a rotary wing model... the tether is used to transmit data as well as provide electrical power for the drone. It is supposed to have a radar array and IIR sensors... so it could be used to find targets, but I would suggest rather than passing that data to a front line deployed Metis team, it would make more sense to use the data itself and fire a Sokol-1 missile, or pass the target data back to a Hermes unit to launch long range (20-100km range) attacks on the targets...
A Metis team is not for hunting tanks, it is to provide protection to other units operating on or near the front line where enemy vehicles could appear and do some damage.
A Metis team could be sent to an urban area or wooded area where tanks and IFVs are not so useful to dig out enemy vehicles... vehicles find it easier to deal with other vehicles generally better than groups of enemy troops...
I only want those features for a dedicated anti-tank round while retaining the inexpensive legacy rounds for every other battlefield target.
The issue I have is that Metis is already a dedicated anti tank round and it is rather cheaper than the on paper more sophisticated western missiles, so you can deploy a lot of them... which is actually a good thing because no soldier on the planet gives a crap about how much things cost... if he is in Afghanistan and someone starts shooting at him from 1,000m and all he has is an M4 and a Javelin you can bet your ass he will fire the Javelin at the target... and to be honest I would probably do the same thing.
The thing is that if he was a Russian he would have an AK-74 and a Metis-M1 and probably 10 missiles.
Another aspect is that an SPG-9 would probably be just as effective against such a target and cheaper still.
If he was a GRU spetsnaz sniper he could use his thermal sight and laser range finder and locate the target and call in a mortar attack and use the laser on his scope to guide the 120mm mortar round and get a direct hit... but SPG-9 would be cheaper... in fact Metis would probably be cheaper too.