Defence and Security Company Saab presented the newly developed next generation Carl Gustaf M4 at the 2014 Association of the U.S. Army exhibition in Washington D.C. The Carl Gustaf M4, known in the U.S. as M3A1 MAAWS (Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System), is the latest man-portable shoulder-launched multi-role weapon system from Saab designed to provide users with flexible capability and help troops to remain agile in any scenario.
Since 1948, Carl Gustaf has been supporting dismounted infantry around the world in dealing with a full range of battlefield challenges. A marked evolution in the history of the system, the new Carl Gustaf M4 model meets the needs of modern conflict environments while offering compatibility with future innovations.
The new lightweight Carl Gustaf M4, weighing approximately 15 pounds (<7 kg, some 3 kg lighter than the earlier Carl Gustaf M3 and half the weight of the 14.2 kg M2 version), offers significant weight savings to the soldier. According to Nicholas de Larrinaga, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, this has been achieved by constructing the recoilless rifle’s barrel out of titanium, saving 1.1 kg (compared to the M3’s steel barrel), building its outer casing our of carbon fibre (saving 0.8 kg), and by redesigning the weapon’s venturi to save a further 0.9 kg. The redesign has also served to decrease the size of the Carl Gustaf, bringing the M4’s total length down to under 1,000 mm (M2 – 1,130 mm; M3 – 1,065 mm).
The Carl Gustaf M4’s current default sight is the same telescopic sight used on the M3 model, although it can also mount a red-dot sight or, through its integrated 1913 Picatinny rail mounts, be fitted with a variety of other sighting options.
It is also compatible with future battlefield technology such as intelligent sighting systems for programmable ammunition. With a wide variety of munitions available, it is a weapon system capable of handling multiple tactical situations, bridging the gap between full-scale operations and low intensity conflicts, and providing the modern warfighter with unprecedented flexibility and capability on the battlefield. The Carl Gustaf M4 enables soldiers to deal with any tactical situation – from neutralizing armored tanks or enemy troops in defilade, to clearing obstacles and engaging enemies in buildings.
The new generation Carl Gustaf is a further development of today’s widely deployed Carl-Gustaf M3. This «outdated» version has long been in service with the U.S. Army Rangers and has been employed by every U.S. Special Operations Force in the U.S. military. Versions of the system are in service with more than 40 nations globally.
The latest M4 design and capability enhancements were recently showcased to a select group of visitors at a ground combat systems demonstration held in Sweden. The demonstration included a comprehensive series of successful firings with a range of ammunition types against a variety of targets. The new Carl-Gustaf is attracting a high level of interest.
In addition, development does not stop here. Future complementary improvements to this new formidable system will include development of smart programmable ammunition, advanced sighting systems, and expanded confined space capabilities.