South Africa – FT5 Light Anti-Tank Weapon System

Last updated on February 17th, 2019 at 09:48 pm

The FT5 light anti-tank weapon system is a shoulder-fired anti-tank weapon that is used by the South African National Defence Force.

It consists of a disposable, preloaded launch tube, a sight unit and a firing mechanism. The launch tube is preloaded with a subsonic rocket.

The launch tube is 41.3 inches (1,050mm) long. It weighs 11.9 pounds (5.4 kg) when empty and 24.9 pounds (11.3 kg) when loaded

It clips behind the sight unit and the firing mechanism, both of which are reusable.

FT5 light anti-tank weapon systemThe sight unit has 4x magnification.  An image intensifier can be clipped onto the sight unit for night operations.

Once the launch tube is clipped to the firing unit, the missile is ready for firing. 

However, the missile does not become armed until it is at least 21.87 yards (20m) of away from the firer.  

The FT5 is most effective when it is operated by a two man crew, with one man firing the weapon and the other carrying spare launch tubes. It can be operated by one man if necessary

Three different types of projectiles can be fired from the FT5 light anti-tank weapon system:

  • A standard High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) round. The HEAT round that was originally used when the FT5 was first built can penetrate 25.6inches (650mm) of armor. Two upgraded HEAT rounds have since been developed. The first and second of these can penetrate, respectively 26.77 inches (680mm) and 27.95 710 mm of armor.
  • A High Explosive Anti-Tank/Reactive Armor (HEAT/RA) round. This is a tandem warhead that can pierce 24.8inches (630mm) of armor. It can be used against explosive reactive armor.
  • A High Explosive Multi Purpose (HEMP) round that can be used against infantry fighting vehicles, armored personal carriers, bunkers and other structures. It can penetrate 11.8 inches (300mm) of reinforced concrete.

The standard range of the FT5 light anti-tank weapon system is  43.7 yards to 437.4 yards (40m to 400m), but with good range finding this can be increased  to 656 yards (600m).