August 9, 2009:
The Wirkmittel (Means of Force) 90 bridges the gap between shoulder fired guided and unguided anti-tank weapons. Current guided Anti-Tank weapons lack range (rarely going beyond 1,000 meters), and unguided ones are effective only out to an average 600 meters.
Wirkmittel 90 provides 20-1,200 meter capability, with a 90 mm, 3 kilogram (6.6 pound) High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) Anti-Material round. The warhead comprises a tandem warhead for penetration of Enhanced Reactive Armor (ERA). Fusing is three modes selectable by the user, allowing point detonation, short, or delayed activation.
There is a detachable sight, with a laser range finder and allowance for lateral correction and super elevation. This enables operators to compensate for range and target movement.
Wirkmittel can be used inside buildings because of its minimal back blast. Total weight is around 10 kilograms (22 pounds). The German Army will begin getting the Wirkmittel in 2014, replacing the Panzerfaust 3 disposable AT weapon.
The nearest rivals to Wirkmittel are the U.S SMAW (Shoulder Launched Multi-purpose Assault Weapon), Swedish AT-4, and Carl Gustav, all of which lack both range and/or warhead size to compete with the WirkMittel 90. -- Mike Perry