Portable firepower

Already in use in Europe, Saab’s new-generation Carl-Gustaf M4 shoulder-fired weapon has a range of features that make it ideal for the security challenges facing Asia.

Like much of the world, the Asian region faces a range of security challenges.

Governments are contending with issues as diverse as asymmetrical threats, the impacts of massive movements of people, and the maintenance of borders.

Saab’s new generation Carl-Gustaf M4 (CGM4) shoulder-fired weapon can make managing these challenges easier, and can be being used in both force-on-force conflicts and in peacekeeping and anti-insurgency missions.

“The system is able to use a wide range of different ammunition types, making it a true multipurpose system,” says Rolf Michel, the Director of Saab Asia Pacific.

Proven performer

The new generation CGM4 system is on display at the DSA defence services fair in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between April 18 and 21, where it is expected to attract attention from regional governments, many of whom use earlier versions of the system.

The first Carl-Gustaf recoilless rifle, the M1, was produced by Saab in 1948 and immediately distinguished itself for its accuracy and portability. It was followed by the M2 in 1964 and the M3 in 1986, with each subsequent model bringing significant advances in terms of portability and technology.

Rolf Michel explains a number of governments in the Asia region rely on the system, including Australia, India, Malaysia and Thailand. The ammunition used by the different generations of the system is completely compatible, meaning many countries operate different generations simultaneously. Australia and India, for example, currently use the M2 and M3 systems. Malaysia currently uses M2 system.

Under 10 kg fully loaded

Michel explains that the CGM4 was launched in 2014, with the first units sold to Slovakia. The new generation offers significant advantages over its most recent predecessor, the M3. Through the use of new materials, the weight of the unit has been reduced from 10 kilograms to seven kilograms, while it’s overall length has been reduced from 1.065 metres to under a metre.

“When you combine the CGM4 with a 551 anti-tank round, the overall weight is under 10 kilograms, which is an important threshold for many customers around the world,” Michel says. “The reduction in weight and length mean that it’s very easy to handle in urban areas. And it’s now even safer to carry fully loaded thanks to an added safety catch.”

Michel says one of the great advantages of the CGM4 is its versatility. It can fire a wide range of munitions including anti-personnel, illumination and fog, depending on the situation at hand. “You have anti- tank and anti-structure munitions that can help you to fire through a wall and have effect behind a wall,” he says.

Other key advantages of the new system include a shot counter that lets users know when it’s time to exchange the weapon, and an improved carrying handle that makes it easier to carry the unit loaded with different munition types.

Attractive to special forces

The CGM4 system also comes prepared for a number of sophisticated technologies including Intelligent Sight which improves the gunner’s ability to hit targets as far away as 1500 to 2000 metres.

Michel expects strong interest from regional governments and, in particular, from special forces looking for the edge provided by the most up-to-date technologies.

“When existing customers see it, they are usually impressed that we have reduced the weight so much,” he says. “Many of them have used the system personally and everyone has a story to tell.”