T Minus 10
The Javelin soft launched from its launch tube, ponderously crossing the first 10 meters of its 2.5 kilometer journey before its main rocket ignited, accelerating it rapidly forward. As the body of a tank is comprised of thick metal, the missile would climb 150 m into the sky before descending from above, impacting the top of the tank’s turret where the armor is thinnest. Of course, the act of firing an anti-tank missile gives away one’s position so if the missile misses or fails to destroy its target, a distinct possibility, the hunter immediately becomes the hunted.
Within seconds, the Javelin had accelerated to its maximum speed as it arced high over its target. As it did, an alarm sounded inside the T90 and its 125 mm main gun reacted, automatically swiveling in the direction from whence indicators indicated the missile had been fired. The tank’s commander punched a button, activating the tank’s Shtora-1 electro-optical jamming system. Grenades fired from either side of the tank and exploded mid-air, filling the environ with an aerosolized smokescreen opaque to the infrared light required by the Javelin’s IR targeting system. Two infrared dazzlers, one on each side of the main gun, also began emitting modulated IR light pulses to further convolute the tank’s heat signature.
Four seconds. Five seconds. Six. At seven seconds into the Javelin’s 10-second sojourn it began descending at a 45-degree angle. Although the tank’s heat signature was now largely obscured by countermeasures, the Javelin was able to maintain its target lock. The T90’s main gun came to rest and the tank gunner frantically searched his viewfinder for signs of the two-man team who’d launched the missile. His attempts to detect their infrared signature was, of course, hampered by the IR-obscuring smokescreen now enveloping the tank. He was, however, able to detect a vague IR blotch on his viewfinder. Good enough. A High Explosive Anti-Personal Round was already loaded into the main gun’s firing chamber and the size of the shell's blast radius obviated the need for precision.
Ten. The Javelin’s nose cone made contact with the tank’s reactive armor, external plates filled with explosives designed to blow outward as the missile’s charge blew inward – the effects of the former at least partially negating the effects of the latter. Milliseconds earlier, the neurons of the gunner’s pre-motor cortex began to fire, setting off a synaptic cascade which, in short order, would result in his finger pulling a trigger. As the effectiveness of the T90’s last line of defense was being tested, so too was that of the two men who’d fired the Javelin. Subsequent to firing the missile, it had taken them approximately three seconds to grab their gear and begin to run in an effort to put as much distance between them and the point of origin of a lingering smoke trail.
The T90’s main gun fired.
Time had run out … and Fate was about to render judgement.