Procurement: Fast Track For Carl

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July 6, 2015: The EU (European Union) recently began implementing a 2014 program which enables member states, especially those in East Europe, to rapidly order needed munitions. The first use of this program was a recent $15.3 million order for ammunition for the Swedish Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle. These 84mm shells will be delivered in 2016 to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Czech Republic and Poland. The EU made arrangements with many suppliers to quickly accept and process orders from EU member states.

The Carl Gustav is a very popular infantry weapon. It was introduced in 1948 and was an immediate success. Most NATO nations use it and the U.S. Army and SOCOM (Special Operations Command) have been users since the 1980s. The current Carl Gustav (the M3) is basically a lightweight (8.5 kg/19 pound) recoilless rifle that is 1.1 meters (3.6 feet) long. The barrel is rifled and good for about a hundred rounds. The 84mm projectiles weigh about 2 kg (4.4 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. Range is 500-700 meters (depending on type of round fired), but an experienced gunner can hit a large target at up to 1,000 meters. The Carl Gustav shells cost $500-3,000 each, depending on type (and complexity). The launcher (with rifled barrel and sight) costs about $20,000 each.

There is also a single shot version of Carl Gustav; the AT-4. Introduced in the 1980s, it did little to hurt Carl Gustav sales. Many troops preferred the Carl Gustav because you got more shots for less weight (the AT-4 weighs about 6.8 kg each). It's easier to carry one Carl Gustav, at 8.5 kg, and a bunch of shells at about 2.2 kg (5 pounds, with packaging) each.

In 2014 a new version (M4) of the Carl Gustav was introduced. There are many improvements. The M4 is 30 percent lighter (at 7 kg/15 pounds) and seven percent shorter (at just under a meter, or 38 inches) than the M3. There is a new electronic sight that is designed to automatically make adjustments to improve accuracy, especially for shots at up to 1,000 meters. This is sometimes done by having the sight transfer data to some of the new rounds that can use that. The new high explosive round has a 1,000 meter range and a lethal radius of more than ten meters. The new sight also counts the rounds fired, making it easier to know when maintenance is necessary. The barrel will now last for ten times as many fired rounds (about a thousand). The overall design of the Carl Gustav has been modified and improved based on extensive user experience in combat. This includes things like enabling the operator to carry the M4 into combat with a shell already loaded. Other improvements make it possible for the M4 to accurately fire that round faster and more accurately than in the past. There are new ammo types available as well and more new ones in the works. Carl Gustaf system is currently in use in 40 countries worldwide. --- Przemyslaw Juraszek

 


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