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Air Force antitank weapon is unreliable, report says

A costly new system designed to let NATO pilots locate and destroy Soviet tanks at night and in bad weather is unreliable and vulnerable to enemy countermeasures, according to a Pentagon report published Monday.

The report by a committee of the Defense Science Board cast doubt on the effectiveness of the Low Altitude Navigation and Targeting Infrared System (Lantirn), which the Air Force is developing. Lantirn would, in theory, allow NATO pilots to overcome a Soviet advantage in tanks by unleashing ultra-accurate missiles that would be guided to the telltale heat emitted by Soviet tanks. But the report said the ability of the system to distinguish tanks from other objects in actual combat is poor.

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