On April 13, the CNN aired a report showing a group of US mercenaries and Ukrainian troops training on the anti-tank system in an unspecified part of Ukraine.
- The MILAN system, which first entered service in 1972, utilizes a semi-automatic command to line of sight (SACLOS) guidance system. The system’s original missile had a range of up to 2,000 meters only.
- The MILAN 2 variant, which entered service with the French, German and British armies in 1984, is armed with an improved HEAT [high-explosive anti-tank] warhead.
- The MILAN 3 entered service with the French army in 1995 and features a new-generation localizer that makes the system more difficult to jam electronically.
- The system’s range was improved in a later version, the MILAN ER, which can engage targets as far as 3,000 meters away.
Visual confirmation of MILAN ATGM in #Ukraine. CNN report on @andymilburn8 & Mozart Group features a short glimpse of training being conducted on one.
A small number of MILAN 2 systems were confirmed to have been sent by France in early March, unclear if others have been sent. pic.twitter.com/93INl0784C
— Historical Firearms | Matthew Moss (@historicfirearm) April 13, 2022
In the early days of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, France provided Ukrainian government forces with a “few dozen” MILAN systems from the stocks of the French army.
France was not however the only one to provide MILAN missiles to Ukraine. Italy officially delivered a shipment of an improved version of the system, known as the MILAN 2T, to Ukraine early on in the war.
The effectiveness of the MILAN system remains limited by its short range and guidance system, which is vulnerability to infrared jammers like the Russian Shtora system.
NATO states have been pumping weapons from their old stockpiles into Ukraine on the hope of foiling the Russian special military operation.
These attempts will only prolong the war, worsen the humanitarian situation in Ukraine and make a political solution more difficult.
Syria ordered about 200 launchers and 4,000 missiles in 1977 which were delivered in 1978-1979 and used by the Syrians during the Lebanese Civil War. The Syrian army used Milan missiles against Israeli tanks in Lebanon in 1982. The missiles were in service during the Syrian Civil War, fielded by the Republican Guard. Syrian rebels captured some in depots, as did ISIL. The Kurdish YPG also used Milans supplied by the international coalition.
In 2015, Germany supplied the Peshmerga with 30 MILAN launchers and over 500 missiles. Those missiles were mostly used against ISIS forces, but on 20 October during the 2017 Iraqi–Kurdish conflict, Kurdish forces destroyed an Iraqi M1 Abrams tank and several Humvees using the MILANs.