Arming the most powerful Swedish army in the world, Saab, to sell ammunition and anti-tank weapons to the American army
The United States awarded Saab an $81.8 million contract for the production and delivery of AT4 anti-tank weapons and Carl-Gustaf ammunition. The US Army, US Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and USMC will receive the armaments.
On September 7, Saab announced that an order worth SEK 812.7 million ($81.8 million) had been placed under an IDIQ framework contract that the US military had signed in 2019.
This agreement allows the United States to purchase AT4 single-shot shoulder-gun systems and Carl-Gustaf ammunition over five years. Deliveries of the anti-tank weapon and ammunition will begin in 2024.
The Swedish defense company says the Carl-Gustaf and AT4 weapons systems will continue to give American fighters “significantly lethal overkill” capabilities when fighting enemy armored forces.
“We are proud to provide the United States with a world-class, battlefield-proven, and effective multi-purpose shoulder-fire capability (anti-armor, anti-structure, anti-personnel, and illumination),” said Saab Chairman Erik Smith.
Saab’s Carl-Gustaf system, also known as MAAWS in the US, is a rechargeable, multi-purpose system used by US military forces since 1990.
The US military announced in 2018 that it would purchase the Carl-Gustaf M4, the newest version of the weapon (designated M3A1 in the US).
The AT4 is a shoulder-launched, disposable, preloaded, recoilless 84mm weapon with a flat trajectory and low dispersion, achieved through high velocity.
Increase in demand for Saab’s weapon systems
Several armed forces around the world have also placed Carl-Gustaf orders with Saab. In August, Norway signed a long-term agreement with the Swedish company to supply ammunition for the latest Carl-Gustaf variant.
The 15-year framework agreement provides for the supply of programmable high-explosive HE 448 cartridges. The ammunition is equipped with a multi-role fuse that can be launched in impact mode to pierce soft and semi-rugged vehicles or in airburst mode to destroy infantry in open fields or trenches.
Saab was also contracted to supply several Carl-Gustaf M4 recoilless guns and ammunition to Lithuania. The Lithuanian Defense Material Agency has ordered $16.7 million worth of ammunition under the framework agreement.
The next-generation weapon will be used in counterinsurgency and peacekeeping activities and in traditional force-on-force warfare in urban settings. Estonia and Latvia also sign the Carl-Gustaf framework agreement.
On May 3 and 4, Saab and its military partners staged a two-day live-fire demonstration of anti-armour, anti-structure and anti-personnel weapons. It was the biggest protest at the company’s headquarters since 2014.
These types of man-portable anti-armour devices are essential because “at the end of the day, the real war is on the ground,” Swedish army commander Major General Karl Lorentz Engelbrekt Engelbrektson told reporters in June.
The latest M4 version of the Carl Gustaf (also known as “Charlie G”, “Charlie Swede”, among other nicknames) 84mm recoilless rifle is Saab’s centerpiece of portable armament.
The system was developed and manufactured by Saab Bofors Dynamics in Karlskoga at the Swedish State Arsenal Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärsfaktori, originally established by Swedish King Charles X Gustav in the 17th century.
With the M4 weighing 7.5 pounds less than the previous model, Saab’s efforts to gradually lighten the system continue with this latest iteration of the well-known weapon. The weapon manufactured by the Swedish firm was also sent to Ukraine.
The Canadian government provided Kyiv with 100 launchers and 2,000 cartridges. In May, a video depicting an attack on the T-90M has been widely shared on Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites. The 127th Brigade of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force was recognized for the murder.
The video was posted on the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s Twitter account with the caption: “Near Stary Saltiv, Kharkiv Territorial Defense fighters knocked out another new T-90 M’ Breakthrough’ tank.
The pride of the Russian tank industry was destroyed by the Swedish hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher – Carl Gustaf. We thank the Swedish people and the king for their help.
Near Stary Saltiv, Kharkiv Territorial Defense fighters knocked out another new tank 🇷🇺T-90M “Breakthrough”. The pride of the Russian tank industry was destroyed by the Swedish hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher Carl Gustaf. We thank the Swedish people and the king for their help. pic.twitter.com/gCiHNu2QFx
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) May 10, 2022
Sweden’s goals for its force structure are similar to what the Ukrainian Armed Forces encountered in their battle against Russia.
Nevertheless, to increase Saab’s production, the Swedish MoD and other customers need to make long-term commitments to larger orders, generating the necessary economies of scale.