Although it has been around since 1948, the Saab Dynamics (Bofors) Carl-Gustaf 84mm recoilless-rifle weapon system remains one of the most versatile weapons on the battlefield.
It has proved of considerable significance to the special forces community due to the variety of effects that can be achieved by carrying different types of round, and by being able to be used over a wide spectrum of engagement ranges. Its suitability for urban warfare, its airburst capability against enemy forces in de lade at long ranges, and its ability to target bunkers have led to something of a renaissance for the ‘Charlie-G’.
Having introduced the M3 version in the late 1980s, Saab (Booth 1521) has recently introduced a new model, with weight-saving as one of its primary advantages. The Carl- Gustaf M4 weighs less than 7kg (15lb), compared with 10kg (22lb) for the preceding model, thanks to its titanium barrel and composites tube. It is somewhat shorter, too, at less than 1m, making it more agile and more suited to urban warfare, and it is provided with more adjustment in the grips and shoulder rest.
There is a new transport safety feature, which allows it to be carried with a round loaded, significantly reducing reaction times when countering pop-up threats. Another new feature is an automatic round-counter function to aid in the planning of logistics and maintenance schedules and to free the soldier from the burden of having to record every firing.
The Carl-Gustaf M4 is compatible with intelligent sighting systems, which can detect which type of round is being red, adjusting themselves accordingly. It is prepared for firing programmable rounds. The US DARPA agency has also contracted Saab Dynamics to study the possibility of using precision-guided rounds under the MOAR (massive overmatch assault round) programme.
Canada’s forces have been one of many to appreciate the capabilities of the Carl-Gustaf, and a range of ammunition is supplied by General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems – Canada.
Available rounds from GDOTS include FFV551 and FFV751 HEAT, FFV552 HEAT target practice, FFV441D anti-personnel, FFV401 area deterrent, FFV502 anti-structure, FFV469C smoke and FFV545C illuminating rounds.
Sub-calibre 7.62mm rounds are also available for initial training.
All previous types of round can be red from the M4 version. Slovakia was the first nation to buy the M4 and it is under evaluation by the US Army as the M3E1 MAAWS (multi-role anti-armour, anti-personnel weapons system), with an aim of fielding the weapon next year. By the beginning of this year, four customers had signed up for the new version.c