Army

Exercise Racing Snake: £70k Javelin Missile Fired On Salisbury Plain

The Javelin is the world's most versatile and lethal one-man portable weapon system, and costs around £70,000 to fire each time it is used.

The top performers on an anti-tank course on Salisbury Plain have been given the privilege of testing a special piece of equipment.

The Javelin is the world's most versatile and lethal one-man portable weapon system, and costs around £70,000 to fire each time it is used.

It has a range of up to 2.5 kilometres and is typically used against targets such as heavily armoured tanks.

Exercise Racing Snake provides infantry men from across the Army with the chance to fire the weapon on Salisbury Plain.

Lance Darryl Mahkut, from the Coldstream Guards, said: "We're going away from Afghan.

"You're looking towards Russia and China and conflicts in North Africa - they've all got vehicles, they've all got armour.

"This is the only weapon that we've got that infantry will defeat it with."

The aim of the exercise is to practice the most effective way to get into a battlefield and safely extract.

Simulating the carrying of a casualty.

Each of the participants is marked based on their approach and response to various situations.

Their weapon-handling capabilities, as well as map skills and critical thinking under pressure are all heavily scrutinised, as well as their physical endurance - carrying heavy loads for long distances.

Captain Johnny Edis, from the Royal Welsh, explained: "I think some people find it very challenging.

"They carry an awful lot of kit. I think the average for my section just then was about 110 pounds of weight and as I said, they're going over 16k over fairly hilly terrain," he said.

Weapon-handling capabilities, as well as map skills and critical thinking under pressure are all heavily scrutinised.

"It's very much mind over matter and just fighting it through and they have to get through as a team, they can't get through as individuals.

The use of the Javelin in the UK is restricted to training on Salisbury Plain, but given the likelihood of urban areas becoming the epicentre of future conflicts, the need to train in those environments is also high on the agenda.