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Sweden's SAAB/FFV AT4 Antiarmor Weapon - Early Years History

 
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:03 am    Post subject: Sweden's SAAB/FFV AT4 Antiarmor Weapon - Early Years History Reply with quote

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NOTE - More photos at bottom of texts article after main photo




Dear Members,

In 1980 the US Congress got extremely upset at the US Army over its one man disposable VIPER antitank rocket program to replace the M72 LAW and canceled the VIPER (see 3rd reply in this message thread for photo of Viper) and ordered the US Army to test off-the-shelf (in production) light antiarmor weapons and to pick ONE and report back to Congress for funds for production. In 1981 the US Army picked the Swedish FFV AT4 for funding and production, designating it the M136 LMPW for "light multi-purpose weapon". (NOTE - The US Army had been taken to task over the term LAW for "light antitank weapon" and was going to use the designation LAAW for "light anti-armor weapon" but even went further with LMPW for "light multi-purpose weapon".) One important item about the AT4, that was widely reported in the 1980s by defense publications and even the US Army in press releases that is totally not true: The AT4 is NOT a rocket like the M72 LAW that it replaces. It is a recoilless weapon similar to the larger jeep mounted recoilless rifles.

The AT4 was developed by the Swedish Ministry of Defense arms firm FFV to replace the MINIMAN also developed by FFV (ie the MINIMAN was one of the first antiarmor weapons to be fitted with a standoff probe to enhance the effect of the HEAT/shape-charge warhead increasing penetration). FFV took the antitank munition developed for their famous 84mm Carl Gustaf crew served antitank recoilless cannon and developed a cheap, one-man/disposable version. The AT4 uses the same principle as the Carl Gustaf where a propellent charge is set off in the casing and when pressure reaches a certain level a blowout plug made of plastic in the rear of the casing disintegrates giving a recoilless effect on firing. It also uses the same stupid simple mechanical side firing pin and primer as the Carl Gustaf. This system makes the AT4 extremely rugged to the point it can be immersed in water for hours and still be fired effectively.

One big difference between the Carl Gustaf HEAT round and the AT4 is its so called "behind the armor effect". Many antiarmor weapons can penetrate the vehicle they impact, but don't cause massive internal damage to the armored vehicle. The most famous example was during the French-IndoChina War a US made M-24 Chaffee light tank took four 2.36 inch antitank rocket hits and still kept fighting. With "behind the armor effect" this means that after penetration of even heavy armor plating it is lethal to the armored vehicle crew and that the vehicles ammunition storage and fuel will most likely be ignited. While never stated it is understood that FFV engineers achieved this by replacing the warheads copper liner with an aluminum liner -- or combination copper and aluminum -- and a special trumpet shaped liner form. Either way in testing by the US Army they were impressed by this special "behind the armor effect". Armor penetration is given by FFV to be 450mm, but many report it to be more near 550mm. Almost double of the M72 which it replaced.

While extremely satisfied with the AT4s ruggedness and easy of use and more important its accuracy against moving targets most users have one complaint: its bulk size and weight. The AT4 round is almost twice the weight and size of the weapon it replaced the M72 LAW.

The following thumbnails are of the brochure put out by FFV when the US Army picked the AT4 as one of the off the shelf candidates to tests for the M72 LAW replacement program as mandated by Congress. It shows basically the version of the AT4 adopted by the Swedish Army. Unlike the early version of the AT4 tested by the Swedish Army it has front and rear bumpers, a front grip and iron sights replacing the plastic sights used on the early MINIMAN. If differs from the version produced in the US for the US Army by deleting the front grip and replacing the Swedish iron sights with iron sights developed by the US Army for the VIPER.

Jack E. Hammond/Moderator Antarmor and Antiair Systems Forums

Note> FFV is now a part of Saab Bofors Dynamics who now own the rights to the AT4.

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The following are thumbnails. Please click to see full size.


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BELOW is one of the first ads to appear for the AT4 then manufactured by FFV. Note the lack of bumpers on the front and rear of the launcher which is on production models today. Also note the crude front and rear plastic sights adopted from the FFV MINIMAN antitank weapon in which production models were replaced by "iron sights" similar to those on modern assault rifles.





Quote:
BELOW is one of the first detailed articles to appear about the FFV AT4. Please click the thumbnails to see full size.












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Last edited by jackehammond on Wed Jan 27, 2010 7:27 pm; edited 12 times in total
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 10:07 am    Post subject: Various Versions of the AT4 - the FFV LMAW and USA AT8 Reply with quote

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Below are thumbnails. Click to see full size.




The above is the brochure for the AT8 which was meant as a bunker buster version of the AT4 for the US Army. It lost out to the XM141 which was based on the US Marine's SMAW bunker buster.



Above photos are of the Swedish dual purpose version of the AT4 where armor penetration is reduced in favor of blast effect. Has a fuse that can be set for quick/glazing action or a slight delay. The fuse is set by a switch on the launcher show in the bottom photo near the gunners thumb. Very good weapon for urban warfare. Has a harden nose section which allows it to be fired through windows and some doors and walls.
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Last edited by jackehammond on Thu Aug 27, 2009 1:57 pm; edited 3 times in total
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
Posts: 330
Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


General Dynamics VIPER


Dear Members,

Four more photos I found in my files. The above photo is of the
General Dynamics VIPER which due to problems was canceled
under pressure from the US Congress and in a competition with
other individual antiarmor weapons resulted in the AT4 being
chosen. General Dynamics stated that it could produce the
VIPER at $78 dollars each in 1978 dollars.


Jack E. Hammond


Click Thumbnails below for full size photo


Swedish soldier preparing to fire AT4

Componets of the AT4

Photo I took at AUSA 1986 showing the sight covers of the AT4

Cutaway of AT4 showing how round from Carl Gustaf was adopted to AT4


Last edited by jackehammond on Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:55 am; edited 4 times in total
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jackehammond



Joined: 24 Apr 2006
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Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2006 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The photos below are from a later brochure by FFV on the AT4. Good photo of the projectile after it has left the tube and the fins have extended. Also a great page showing details of the AT4 and the iron sights adopted from the iron sights developed for the canceled M72 LAW replacement the General Dynamics VIPER. The last thumbnail is a large JPEG of 300K. Click thumbnails to see full size photos.


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Last edited by jackehammond on Fri Aug 21, 2009 9:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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jackehammond



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Location: Indiana, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:16 am    Post subject: AT-4 Videos Reply with quote

Links below to videos of the AT4 training and firing

AT4 AST


AT4 CS - Confined Space


AT4 FIRINGS


AT4 BASIC TRAINING


French Army soldiers with AT4



Irish Army soldier preparing to fire AT4



.
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.


Last edited by jackehammond on Thu Aug 27, 2009 2:00 pm; edited 1 time in total
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armyreco
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2008 5:22 pm    Post subject: AT-4 firing pictures Reply with quote

Hello members, guest and visitors,

Some nice pictures about firing of AT-4.




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