AT-1 Snapper (NATO reporting name)
9K15 and 9K16 (missile systems using 3M6)
1955 - 1958 (3M6 missile)
1957 - 1960 (2K15 system)
1961 - 1966 (USSR)
1975 - ? (North Korea)
Many thousands of missiles produced, production complete.
- UNIT COST
Good penetration compated to older anti-tank guns
Simple system design
Poor chance to hit due to manual guidance
Large dead zone near launcher
Launch vehicle position needs to be precise
Cannot fire on the move
The 3M6 Shmel is an early Cold War ere anti-tank guided missile of Soviet origin. It was the first of such weapons in Soviet service and is a very crude system by todays standards. In the West is was known under the NATO reporting name AT-1 Snapper. It was used on a large scale but quickly replaced by the more capable 9K11 Malyutka (AT-3 Sagger) system.
The 3M6 is a very basic anti-tank missile. It has a cylindrical body with the warhead in the nose, a solid propelland rocket motor and four large wings at the rear that feature control surfaces. The 3M6 uses wire guidance. The control box features a launch button and joystick to manually control the missile in flight. The missile is launched at an upward angle and needs to stabilize before guidance is of any use, resulting in a large dead zone upon launch and the nickname Shmel, which is Russian for bumblebee.
The 3M6 uses a single shaped charge warhead. The penetration is equivalent to 300mm RHA. The maximum range is 2 km. The dead zone is up to 600 m from the launcher. This results in a rather small engagement zone. Missile speed is rather low and flight time to maximum range is 20 seconds. The manual guidance gives the 3M6 a rather limited chance to hit, which is further reduced in bad weather, at night or when the operator is under fire.
The 3M6 missile and associated equipment is too heavy to be man portable. In the 2K25 system the 2P26 launch vehicle is used. This vehicle is based on the GAZ-69 utility vehicle and has four launch rails facing rearwards. The improved 2K16 system uses the 2P27 launch vehicle that is based on the BRDM-1. The number of launch rails is reduced to three. Reportedly the 3M6 was also mounted on helicopters, requiring them to hover in place when the missile is in flight.
The 3M6 Shmel was widely used by Soviet forces during the early Cold War era. Due to its limitation it was quickly replaced when more capable systems became available. The 3M6 was also widely exported to nations with close ties to the USSR. The 3M6 is possibly still in use with North Korea, but is otherwise considered obsolete.
The 3M6 anti-tank missile is one of the earliest Soviet anti-tank missiles. It can be identified by very basic design with very large cruciform wings near the nozzle. The 3M6 uses manual command to line of sight (MCLOS) guidance with commands passed on through a wire.
3M6 Shmel: Baseline production model. No variants were developed.
- 3M6 Shmel
|Diameter||136 mm body, 0.75 m wingspan|
|Guidance||MCLOS, wire guided|
|Warhead||3N13 HEAT warhead, 5.4 kg, penetration 300 mm RHA|
|Propulsion||Single-stage solid propellant rocket motor|
|Range||600 m dead zone, 2.0 km maximum range, 19 second flight time to maximum range|
2P26 tank destroyer
The 2K15 Shmel system was the first operational 3M6 missile system. It is based on the GAZ-69 4x4 utility vehicle. This is a soft skin vehicle with four launch rails for the 3M6 facing rearwards. Before firing the vehicle must make a U-turn and the operator dismounts with the guidance control box. Since the 3M6 is missile with MCLOS guidance firing must be carried out while stationary.
2P26: Tank destroyer vehicle based on GAZ-69. Introduced in 1961. It can be identified by the four large launch rails facing towards the rear.
|Crew||2 (driver, gunner)|
|Weight||2.37 t combat load|
|Wheelbase||Wheeled chassis, 4x4|
|Engine||GAZ 2.4 L, 65 hp|
|Power ratio||27.4 hp/t|
|Transmission||Manual, 3 forward, 1 reverse|
|Speed||90 km/h on road|
|Range||400 km on road|
|Armament||3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper) launcher (4x)|
|Weapon1||2K15 quad rail launcher|
4 missiles, all ready to fire
+4 to +18° elevation
-6 to +6° traverse
2P27 tank destroyer
The 2K16 Shmel system is a second generation system that remedies much of the drawbacks of the earlier 2K15. It retains the 3M6 missile and associated limited capabilities, but the 2P27 launch vehicle is based on the BRDM-1 chassis. This offers basic armor protection, increased cross terrain mobility and amphibious capability. Since the three launch rails face forwards face forwards it is easier to position the vehicle for firing. Also the missiles can be launched from the vehicle.
2P27: Tank destroyer vehicle based on BRDM-1 reconnaissance vehicle. Introduced in 1964. It differs from the BRDM-1 in having a larger rear superstructure with 3 launch rails the can be lowered and covered with side folding doors.
|Crew||2 (driver, gunner)|
|Height||1.9 m (roofline), 2.65 m (firign position)|
|Ground clearance||0.315 m|
|Weight||5.3 t empty, 5.8 t combat load|
|Wheelbase||Wheeled chassis, 4x4, 2.80 m wheelbase, 1.66 m track|
|Engine||GAZ-40P 6-cylinder water cooled petrol, 90 hp at 3.400 rpm|
|Power ratio||15.5 hp/t|
|Transmission||Manual, 4 forward, 1 reverse|
|Speed||80 km/h on road, 9 km/h in water|
|Range||500 km on road|
|Armor||Steel, between 4 and 10 mm|
|Armament||3M6 Shmel (AT-1 Snapper) launcher (3x)|
|Weapon1||2K16 tripple rail launcher|
6 missiles, 3 ready to fire
-3 to +18° elevation
-12 to +12° traverse