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Carl-Gustaf: Indian Army’s versatile weapon of choice

3 min read

Over the years, the Indian Army has banked on the Carl-Gustaf as its weapon of choice, ever since the 1970s when the first M2s came to India and were being manufactured here. Most commentators in India attribute the army’s choice of Carl-Gustaf to its versatility and multi-role ability along with its ruggedness, easy deployment and being virtually a “one man artillery.” Experts writing on the Carl-Gustaf’s deployment in the Indian army point out that it has better range, accuracy and its rifled barrel and recoil-less mechanism results in good weapon stabilization.

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Its ability to fire a variety of ammunition based on mission demands, ranging from HEAT round to HE round, anti-structure munition, HEDP round and multi-target ammo round makes it a true multi-role system that can switch between anti-tank and anti-personnel roles. The 84 mm HEDP 502, for example is a fin-stabilised, high-explosive, dual-purpose round optimised for fighting in built-up areas. It is as effective against armoured vehicles as it is against enemies protected by structures like sandbags, brick and wooden walls. The round has both an impact and a delay mode. The tandem warhead of MT 756 will neutralise enemy troops inside a building or behind a structure. It is also powerful enough to take out light-armoured vehicles. The rocket-assisted HEAT 551 allows dismounted soldiers to defeat the majority of armoured vehicles and MBTs in side or rear aspect.

Much like its predecessors, the Carl-Gustaf M4 is extremely rugged, giving the ground troops a freedom to handle it roughly if needed. The soldiers can truly depend on the weapon while operating in challenging conditions. About Carl-Gustaf, Sergeant Raymond Miller of the US Army once said, “When you’re in combat, batteries can go flat and screens and lenses can break. But I have never heard of a Carl-Gustaf having any of those kinds of issues.”

The new Carl-Gustaf M4 weapon is also compatible with a wide range of ammunition that can handle all sort of targets including built-up areas, armoured vehicles in side or rear aspect, and also be used to illuminate battlefields during night-time operations. The ammunitions can be used for both full scale operations and low intensity conflicts. “It is this range of ammunitions that gives soldiers operating Carl-Gustaf an edge over the enemy. From anti-tank rounds to illumination and smoke rounds, these munitions can handle everything. The range can vary between 400m and 1000m,” says Ola Rignell, Chairman and Managing Director of Saab India.

In a battlefield, speed and manoeuvrability dictate mission success. Carl-Gustaf M4 is less than one meter in length and weighs less than seven kilos, making it that much more easy to carry and deploy fast.