Weapons: Matador Matures

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March 21, 2018: Israel has ordered several thousand more Matador (Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) weapons for use mainly in urban fighting. Jointly developed by Israel, Singapore and Germany in the late 1990s it entered service in 2000 and first saw combat in Gaza at the end of 2008 and into 2009. Also known as the AS-60 or RGW 90 it was designed as an upgrade to the earlier (1980s) German 67mm Armbrust. Israel, Singapore and Germany initially ordered Matador followed by Britain, Slovenia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.

Matador (RGW-90) is a 90mm single-shot shoulder fired rocket launcher. It is a recoilless rifle type weapon that is one meter (39 inches) long and has a countermass system that enables it to be fired from confined spaces. There are several versions of Matador available depending on the warhead type. The most frequently used warhead is designed to blow up buildings, or parts of buildings as well as destroy light armored vehicles.

The German made Matador was a major upgrade of the earlier 67mm Armbrust, which weighed only 6.3 kg but was much less accurate and effective against armored vehicles. Despite, or because of, its success in 2009 Israel developed a new warhead. By 2011 this Matador WB was ready. It was heavier, at 13 kg (29 pounds) and has an effective range of 20-120 meters and is designed to create a hole, in brick or concrete walls, large enough for soldiers to get through. This was found to be useful in places like Gaza where the quickest, and safest, way to move around was to blast a hole in walls.

In 2017 a German firm has developed a 1.1 kg (2.4 pound) reusable LRMP (Long Range Multi-Purpose) electronic sight for the Matador. Using this sight the Matador can accurately hit targets 1,200 meters away. The LRMP contains a laser range-finder and 5.5X enlargement. The sight takes data about the warhead type, surroundings and target and calculates elevation and lead (for moving targets) and a dot appears that enables the user to move the launcher until it is in position for the most accurate shot. The first user of the LRMP was the German Special Forces troops. Depending on warhead in the Matador LRMP is attached to the warhead will be programmed to delay detonation after hitting the target to obtain optimum results. Most versions (MP and AS) of Matador weigh 8.9 kg (19.9 pounds) and the existing sight provides less accurate aimed fire at up to 500 meters. The initial version of LRMP is programmed to work with Matador MP, a multi-purpose warhead with adjustable detonation options. The latest version has a warhead that automatically selects the correct detonation mode as it hits the target. Future versions of LRMP will work with other warhead types, like Matador-WB wall breaching version. Other future LRMP enhancements will add the ability to work with existing removable night vision devices for Matador.

 


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