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ADEX 2022: Sapphire promises enhanced lethality

Sapphire in twin launcher configuration. (Janes/Huw Williams)

Belarus' Belspetsvneshtechnika has outlined improvements to the 61 mm-calibre Sapphire disposable rocket launcher.

Detailing the new features at ADEX 2022 in Baku, a company representative highlighted a new tandem warhead configuration, enhanced lethality, and ongoing work on what was described as a “smart sighting system” that is intended to automate processes and assist the user through a fire control unit that presents an aiming point once a target is designated, among other features.

The representative said that the Sapphire can be configured with tandem warhead combinations of either high explosive (HE) and HE fragmentation, or HE and HE anti-tank (HEAT) types.

According to company data, Sapphire now features an extended effective fire range of 500 m (up from a previously stated 450 m) and the ability to penetrate 350 mm of rolled homogeneous armour (up from 300 mm) itself protected by explosive reactive armour.

Further details given by the company include the ability to penetrate brick and reinforced concrete walls measuring 1,000 mm and 700 mm thick respectively, and to fracture and deliver explosives through a concrete wall up to 200 mm thick and brick walls up to 300 mm thick.

The representative said that the launcher is not yet in service and that it is in a “late stage of development.”

Sapphire can be configured as a single, dual, or quad launcher, and can be fired from the shoulder. The system features single-shot or volley fire modes and has an airburst capability.

A single Sapphire canister measure 75 cm in length and weighs 4 kg without the sighting unit.

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