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A top attack weapon is designed to attack armoured vehicles from above as a form of plunging fire, as the armour is usually thinnest at the top. Ideally, it will penetrate perpendicular to the attacked surface. The device may be delivered (often as a submunition) by a missile, mortar or artillery shell, ATGM, or even an emplaced munition. Top attack munitions use either a high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead for direct impact or near impact, or an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) warhead for over-flight of the target.

The top attack concept is fairly new and was first put into service by the Swedish in 1988[1] with the Bofors RBS 56 BILL top-attack anti-tank missile.

Weapon systems using top attack

Sources

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