The US Army has awarded a $100 million contract to Saab for Carl Gustaf ammunition and AT4 recoilless rifle systems which will supply the USMC and JSOC. This contract is an “indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity” (IDIQ) contract. This essentially means that all three entities can buy more than $400 million worth of the systems and ammunition during a 5 year period.
While the AT4 is considered to be the cheaper of the two recoilless rifle systems, the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle has far greater capabilities when it comes to adaptability. With the advent of a new Carl Gustaf munition that has semi-active laser-guided tracking, the Carl Gustaf seems to be taking center stage in this contract.
Not only is the Carl Gustaf getting a new projectile, the United States already announced back in 2018 that it would be acquiring the latest version of the M4 and it seems the earlier announcement is finally coming to fruition.
Erik Smith, President, and CEO of Saab in the US, said:
“The Saab family of shoulder-fired munitions provides the U.S. Armed Forces with effective capabilities against a wide area of targets. With these systems, soldiers and Marines gain reliable, easy-to-use technology optimized for complex environments and engagements.”
The Swedish Defense Material Administration also announced that it would be planning export of the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle to other countries such as Estonia, and Latvia over the next 10 years.
It has been suggested in the past that sustained use of recoilless rifles and other such shoulder-launched munitions can carry a significant risk of brain injury. With the new munition, it is unknown if this risk will be partially mitigated but it does seem based on the video above that the new laser-guided projectile has much less initial localized blast due to the delayed rocket-propelled charge. At about the 0:55 second mark in the video below you can see the massive concussive blast the Carl Gustaf emits when it’s 84x246mm cartridge is fired.
For now, it seems that the United States Army will be provided with some new toys to play with out on the battlefield. We’ll keep watch to see when these new Carl Gustaf munitions start to make their way into the hands of soldiers.