Making its DSEI debut is the latest generation of the Saab Dynamics Carl-Gustaf 84mm shoulder-launched recoilless rifle/support weapon. The first generation of the weapon dates back to 1948, but through successive development remains as viable today as it was nearly 70 years ago, and is in service with more than 40 nations.
The Carl-Gustaf M4 is the latest iteration, first announced late last year. Significant weight savings have been achieved through the use of a titanium liner, carbonfibre casing and reduced-length Venturi section at the rear. Weight is down to 6.7kg from the 10kg of the M3 version, while overall length is reduced to 985mm from 1,065mm.
At the same time, the weapon has been improved ergonomically, and can be optionally fitted with red-dot or intelligent sights. Another option is a communications link between the sight and the ammunition to allow for the automatic setting of airburst options. The launcher can also be operated remotely. In previous versions, users were required to keep a written log of shots fired up to the liner’s life of 1,000 rounds, but the M4 has an integral shot-counter. Another feature is a safety catch that allows the weapon to be carried with a grenade loaded.
Eleven types of round are available for the Carl- Gustaf M4, and are backwards-compatible with older launchers. The latest round is the 300m range HEAT 655 CS, which is the first that offers confined-space launch capability.
Development of further confined-space rounds is under way, along with more types of programmable ammunition. Five different intelligent sights have already been qualified.
Saab Dynamics (Stand N2-230) also offers two disposable shoulder-launched weapon systems in the form of the AT4 multipurpose weapon and the NLAW anti-tank missile. Recent developments have seen two more confined-space versions being added to the AT4 range, the AT4CS HE high-explosive anti-armour round and the AT4CS ER extended-range anti-area weapon, the latter available with either impact or airburst fuzing. Together with the AT3CS AST anti-structure weapon, the HE and ER rounds have been procured by the French army as the Roquette NG system.
Meanwhile, Saab has increased the range of the direct attack/top-attack overflight NLAW weapon to 800m from 600m, through a software change that can be applied to existing weapons.
The company has also developed, but not yet qualified, a 1,000m version with some hardware changes incorporated.