SOFINS 2021: Saab, a new HE round for the Carl Gustaf

Paolo Valpolini

The Carl Gustaf 84 mm recoilless gun cannot be missed at a Special Forces exhibition. The presence of Saab at the SOFINS, the Special Operations Forces Innovation Network Seminar organised by the Cercle de l’Arbalète at the Camp de Souges, north of Bordeaux, was thus a must.

The Carl Gustaf has always been a weapon of choice for SF units around the world, thanks to the wide portfolio of ammunition available that could answer the various needs of such special units. Since the advent of the “CS” series ammunition, which can be used from confined space, and of the M4 model, the latest version of the weapon weighing less than 7 kg, the Carl Gustaf system has become even more attractive for SFs.

A new round will soon joint the already rich portfolio; it will be named HE 448, and it is in the very last phase of development, verification tests being ongoing in Sweden. It will replace the current HE 441D/441D RS round, keeping the same functionalities, its multi-role fuse being settable in impact mode, to destroy soft-skinned vehicles and other semi-hardened targets, or in airburst mode, allowing neutralisation of infantry in the open or in open trenches. The electronic fuse is automatically set when the round is loaded into the tube, the fire control system providing the time should the AB mode be selected. Compared to the HE 441, the HE 448 will have a different high explosive warhead; instead of the 800 steel balls with a 6 mm diameter, the new round warhead will have a much greater number of smaller balls, 4,200 with a 3 mm diameter, and these will be made of tungsten, providing an increased lethal range. Not only, the new round can reach a greater distance; the current HE 441 D can be employed against targets up to 1,200 meters, while the new HE 448 will reach 1,500 meters, a 25% increase.

Photo courtesy P. Valpolini