Weapons: Sweden’s Most Wanted

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June 15, 2022: Sweden is sending more weapons to Ukraine, including 5,000 additional M4 84mm Carl Gustav portable and reloadable recoilless rifles. The M4 was introduced in 2014 and was a major improvement over M2 and M3 models that are still in use. The Ukrainians found Carl Gustav extremely useful. The M4 is 30 percent lighter (at 7 kg/15 pounds) and seven percent shorter (at just under a meter, or 38 inches) than the M3. There is a new electronic sight that is designed to automatically make adjustments to improve accuracy, especially for shots at up to 1,000 meters. This is sometimes done by having the sight transfer data to some of the new rounds that can use it. This new high explosive round has a 1,000-meter range and is lethal out to more than ten meters from the exploding shell. The new sight also counts the rounds fired, making it easier to know when maintenance is necessary. The barrel will now last for ten times as many fired rounds (about a thousand).

The overall design of the Carl Gustav has been modified and improved based on extensive user experience in combat. This includes things like enabling the operator to carry the M4 into combat with a shell already loaded. Other improvements make it possible for the M4 to accurately fire that loaded round faster and more accurately than in the past. There are new ammo types available as well and more new ones in the works. New Carl Gustav users must be very careful of its backblast. Previous combat users found that the best way to use the Carl Gustav was with a two-man team. One carries and operates the Carl Gustav and is usually armed only with a pistol as a personal weapon. The other man carried 5-6 rounds of 84mm ammo and operates as a spotter for the Carl Gustav gunner. If you expect to encounter enemy troops some distance away, like over 500 meters, the Carl Gustav is the way to go and Ukrainians exploited that in a big way. Carl Gustav was very useful in Afghanistan and any place with wide-open spaces. Carl Gustav shells cost $500-3,000 each, depending on the type (and complexity). The launcher (with rifled barrel and sight) costs about $25,000 each. The M1 version of the Carl Gustav was introduced in 1948 and its reputation spread as more countries adopted it. NATO nations bordering Russia began using Carl Gustav in 2019 and Ukrainians quickly learned how effective it was.

Sweden is also sending several dozen portable RBS-17 anti-ship missiles. RBS-17 is a smaller version of the larger RBS-15 that was introduced in 1985 as competition for the American Harpoon. RBS-17 is similar to the American Hellfire missile and weighs 48 kg (105 pounds), is 1.8 meters (63 inches) long and uses laser guidance to hit targets 8 kilometers distant. Swedish troops who operate near the coast were given RBS-17 so they could quickly get to where Russian amphibious forces were headed and damage or destroy Russian landing craft before they reached shore. RBS-17 entered Swedish service in the 1980s and was used to arm Swedish CB90 18-ton fast attack boats. CB90s are used near the coast for patrol or combat and can carry 21 troops or 4.5 tons of cargo. The land-based version came later. Ukraine will use these to aid in the defense of Odessa from threatened Russian landings.

Sweden is also sending AG90 12.7mm sniper rifles. These are actually American Barrett Light 50 rifles in Swedish service. U.S. forces use this rifle as the M82A1. AG90 weighs 16 kg (35 pounds) and is effective against vehicles and individuals out to 1,000 meters. Ukraine already has some similar 12.7 rifles and wanted more.

 


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