While Saab's Carl-Gustaf has been the mainstay of the Indian Armed forces in specific roles since the mid-1970s, the recent acquisition of the single-shot AT4 takes the capability a notch higher.
| By Bo Thorn,
President, FFV Ordnance AB
Capability for Military Operations in Congested Areas is one of the key tenets that defence thinking has pushed for (MOBUA). This is broadly defined as the ability to conduct operations in densely populated areas while causing the fewest casualties and collateral damage. MOBUA's key capabilities are firepower, force protection, and maneuverability. In terms of defence, urban areas would increasingly be the site of conflicts, whether insurgency, low-intensity conflict, or full-fledged war. MOBUA entails actions in an area with infrastructure, where tactical operations would be complicated by the proximity of non-combatants. As a result, these operations typically involve small detachments, with a high likelihood of troops coming under fire. As a result, the Indian army, like many other armed forces around the world, recognises the importance of arming individual soldiers with the necessary capabilities. One such capability is delivered by the AT4.
The Indian Armed Forces are a new customer for AT4, specifically the AT4CS AST, which can be fired from confined spaces such as from inside buildings, bunkers and other urban environments. The AT4CS AST offers a tandem warhead with a breach or blast mode, which is optimised to defeat enemies within buildings and to destroy structures, which can create a point of access into them.
The AT4, therefore, enhances the ability of the solider to fight urban battles - a common enough scenario in recent warfare where armies have got enmeshed in long-drawn urban battles both with state and non-state actors. Soldiers hamstrung by recoil have often had to expose themselves to engage with the enemy, thereby attracting fire on themselves.
The AT4 enhances the ability of the solider to fight urban battles where armies have got enmeshed in long-drawn urban battles both with state and non-state actors
With AT4, the Indian Armed Forces will also have a major advantage in the form of confined space capability. The use of a sea water counter-mass in the AT4 allows it to be used in closed rooms and close to walls without harm to the operator or those around him. That means AT4 equipped soldiers are ready for anything. With all capabilities required for mission success in place, including night and confined space abilities, AT4 soldiers can act quickly without worrying if the surrounding environment is suitable for discharging a weapon. The 84mm caliber provides more than sufficient performance when you need it.
Further, given its single use nature, the AT4 is light, disposable and, therefore, good for swift movement in urban environments, difficult terrains and places with limited access. Besides the less weight, AT4 offers its users ease of use and handling. For any experience level, a dismounted soldier simply aims, fires and destroys the target before discarding the empty tube.
As compared to reloadable weapons that feature sophisticated functions, disposable weapons are often easier to use. First of all, simplicity of use means soldiers can be immediately deployed with a weapon like AT4 with basic training. We are talking about training of just a day or two. Secondly, the simple functions also mean that soldiers will be able to fire from their instincts during the heat of the battle instead of remembering the workings of the weapon.
The AT4 family has proven itself to be a highly reliable, robust and durable weapon system that has been extensively proven in combat.
The AT4 family has proven itself to be a highly reliable, robust and durable weapon system that has been extensively proven in combat. Its key characteristics include high target effect and hit probability, creating a high hit rate for each fired weapon. In order to remain operational and effective, today's dismounted forces need ground combat systems designed to meet the requirements of highly specialised missions. The new-generation AT4 family of lightweight, shoulder-launched, off-the-shelf support weapons is the result of Saab's thinking edge in action. The family provides variations that are designed to meet the diverse and ever-changing needs of ground forces.
The AT4 family offers maximum versatility and ease of use - whatever the task.
The disposable AT4 anti-armour weapons for short-range combat give the soldier the ability to defeat combat vehicles with high penetration. The AT4 combine easy handling, low weight and high muzzle velocity with impressive firepower and high armour penetration.
The AT4CS AST (Anti-structure) is a lightweight, fully disposable multi-target weapon suited to close combat ranges. It provides the dismounted soldier with the capability to defeat the multitude of targets encountered in close combat urban operations.
The AT4CS HE (High Explosive) enables soldiers to defeat enemy troops in complex environments. The weapon can be adjusted to operate in airburst or impact mode, providing the flexibility needed for a range of combat scenarios. Compatible with intelligent sighting systems and prepared for programmable ammo, it ensures your forces have advanced technology at their fingertips.
The AT4 systems are combat-proven across the world and is present in more than 15 countries worldwide. With the procurement of AT4, the Indian armed forces have further added to the options that it has while undertaking complex tasks.