Carl-Gustaf M4 Multi-Role Weapon System : Should India procure it ?

Carl-Gustaf M4 (CGM4) is a 84mm man-portable, shoulder-launched weapon system designed and developed by Swedish defence and security firm Saab to meet a wide range of modern combat needs of infantry forces.

The next-generation multi-role weapon system can be deployed in anti-insurgency / peacekeeping missions and traditional force-on-force conflicts in urban or complex combat environmental conditions. It is used to destroy armoured tanks with add-on armour protection, to neutralise landing craft and bunkers and to clear obstacles. It is also used to engage enemies in buildings. This weapon is multipurpose and can be used to destroy a wide range of targets at distance of up to 1000 m.

The latest version of the rifle, the Carl Gustaf M4, was introduced in 2014 at the AUSA event. The new version is touted as highly flexible and compatible in the battlefield. The Carl Gustaf M4 in general a squad level anti-tank weapon but it is also effective against other stationary and moving targets.

The CGM4 features a lightweight, flexible design incorporating titanium-made components and improved carbon fibre wrapping. The recoilless rifle offers enhanced agility and tactical flexibility, allowing military forces to engage multiple tactical targets.

The Carl-Gustaf M4 artillery system is attached with standard clip-on telescopic sight on a picatinny rail, allowing the users to install thermal sights or image intensifiers for night-time combat. Additional sighting systems, including open sight, red dot and intelligent sights, can be optionally mounted based on specific needs of the customer.

The Carl Gustaf M4 is a very versatile weapon. This recoilless rifle can fire a wide range of 84 mm munitions, such as high-explosive anti-tank rounds, anti-structure rounds, multi-role rounds, high-explosive anti-personnel rounds, smoke rounds, illumination rounds and other. It is compatible with ammunition of the previous M2 and M3 models. This wide range of munitions makes the weapon effective in support role.

According to SAAB Bofors Dynamics the Carl Gustaf M4 has five major improvements over its predecessor. These include compatibility with intelligent sights, an adjustable shoulder rest for better ergonomics, reduced weight, faster reload and integrated shot counter for improved logistics and maintenance.

The SAAB Bofors Dynamics is working on improving the effectiveness of the rifle by integration of smart munitions. The Carl Gustaf M4 has a round management function so intelligent sights can program the rounds. For example high explosive round can be set to detonate on impact or airburst.

This weapon has an effective range of up to 400 m against tanks, and 700 m against buildings and stationary targets. Some types of ammunition have a rocket booster for extended range to up to 1000 m.

A standard HEAT round penetrates 400 mm of rolled homogenous armor. Round with a tandem HEAT warhead penetrates up to 500 mm of rolled homogenous armor behind explosive reactive armor.

This weapon weighs less than 7 kg and is less than 1 000 mm long. This recoilless rifle is highly reliable and has a lifespan of 1 000 rounds. The length of the M4 was reduced in order to suit urban terrain. The weapon also has a reduced weight due to the use of lighter components such as carbon fiber and titanium liner.

The Carl Gustaf M4 has a hinged breech feeding system. This weapon is normally operated by a crew of two, including gunner and loader. Rate of fire is around 6 rounds per minute. However, if required, it may be also used by a single operator.

Saab is planning to carry forward the 40-year-old legacy of Carl-Gustaf in India, as it prepares to co-produce its next-generation Carl-Gustaf M4 under the ‘Make in India’ programme for the Army. India had signed the first contract with Saab for Carl-Gustaf M2 weapons system in 1976, including technology transfer of Carl-Gustaf weapon and ammunition to Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). In 2005, Saab had inked another licensing contract for M3 with India. The company is presently scouting for partners in India to co-develop and co-produce the M4 here.






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