Two years ago, the Carl-Gustaf M4 was launched at the Association of the U.S. Army exhibition (AUSA) in Washington D.C. Presently, four customers have signed contracts for the system. How did a new system generate that level of interest in such a short time?
In 2011, Malcolm Arvidsson, product director for Carl-Gustaf, and his colleagues decided to start the development of the battle-proven system's next generation. For years, they tirelessly researched what customers required to be able to operate in a flexible and versatile way on the modern battlefield.
"When developing a new weapon for dismounted combat, a number of things are crucial to keep in mind in order to end up with a successful product," said Malcolm. "Of these, the most important ones are system weight, system effectiveness, ergonomics and reliability. In short, focus on the needs of the warfighter."
In 2014, it was time to launch the new product at the AUSA exhibition. Malcolm and his team were able to showcase a system weighing about 15 lbs, with intelligent capabilities and with an ergonomic design making it easier for the single soldier to use it. Mission accomplished.
"We achieved the things we had taken on, which was a very satisfying feeling, of course," continued Malcolm. "We knew we had a system that many users out there were demanding, so it was perfect timing in many ways. It was a clear trend that more and more of tomorrow's battles will take place in urban areas, so it was around such scenarios we developed this system. We focused on flexibility and versatility during the entire project and we can now see the results."
Knowing the user
How, after only two years, does Saab have four customers on this new system? Malcolm believes that the thorough analysis of the users' needs was critical for the development - combined with the fact that the current Carl-Gustaf system has a broad customer base - makes the Carl-Gustaf M4 a sought-after system.
"We put enormous effort into preparatory work to ensure that we focus on the right things - and this, I think, was one key to our success," Malcolm said. "When we launched, the timing was perfect. I would also like to emphasize that the work of the new system was carried out with excellent support from the whole organization, which is always important when it comes to these kind of development projects. A fourth version of the system was the next natural step for us, and together, we made it possible. Why it has been a huge success so far? Because it is the perfect system for soldiers out there today. As simple as that."
Four customers have signed, and with those four welcomed to the family, the interest is just getting bigger and bigger.
"We basically got requests immediately after we launched it," said Malcolm, "both from countries using earlier versions of the Carl-Gustaf, but also from countries that do not use it today. Our analysis is that this is just the beginning. The interest is enormous and the fact that we already have four customers is a very strong proof that the market trusts us and our knowledge, right?"
Carl-Gustaf M4 - Key Facts
(+ comparison with previous models)
M2: Weight: 31.3 lbs, Length: 44.5 in
M3: Weight: 22 lbs, Length: 41.9 in
M4: Weight: <15.5 lbs, Length: <39.3 in
LIGHTER: Builds upon the success of its predecessor by offering an even shorter length and a weight of less than 15.5 lbs.
INTELLIGENT SIGHT: Compatible with intelligent sight systems, ensuring maximum effect in any tactical situation.
IMPROVED ERGONOMICS: Overall improved ergonomics enables soldiers to adjust the weapon to suit them. Includes an adjustable shoulder rest and front grip.
REDUCED ACTION TIME: Can be carried safely loaded to enable the user to act faster.
ROUND COUNTER: Integrated shot counter for improved logistics and maintenance.
FLEXIBLE: A wide range of ammunition types and sight options ensures unique flexibility for the multi-role Carl-Gustaf M4 user.