Armor: December 11, 2003

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For over a decade, the U.S. Army has resisted adopting the Swedish Carl Gustav portable recoilless rifle. But since watching US Army Special Forces use this weapon in Afghanistan and Iraq, they are reconsidering. This weapon has been around for over two decades, is used by several dozen countries. The Carl Gustav was adopted by SOCOM (first for the Ranger Regiment) in 1990. The Carl Gustav is basically a lightweight (20 pounds) recoilless rifle. The barrel is rifled and good for about a hundred rounds. Range is 500-700 meters (depending on type of round fired.) The 84mm projectiles weigh about four pounds each and come in several different types (anti-armor, combined anti-armor/high explosive, illumination and smoke.) The anti-armor round is very useful in urban areas and against bunkers. The army has since adopted the single shot version of the Carl Gustav (as the AT4), but the Special Forces showed that the Carl Gustav is better because you get more shots for less weight (the AT4 weighs about 15 pounds each). It's easier to carry one Carl Gustav, at about 20 pounds, and a bunch of rocket propelled shells at about five pounds (with packaging) each. The army is discussing the Carl Gustav's with Special Forces officers and users and may adopt it for army-wide use. 

 


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