Saab AT4 Man-portable Disposable Anti-tank Launcher
Saab AT4 Man-portable Disposable Anti-tank Launcher

Ukrainian Armed Forces Gets Saab AT4 Disposable Anti-tank Launchers from Sweden

Ukrainian Armed Forces have received its first batch of Saab AT4 disposable anti-tank launchers from Sweden. It was previously reported that Sweden would supply 5,000 AT4 to Ukraine. Sweden on Sunday announced it would break its doctrine of not sending arms to countries engaged in an active conflict, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced Sunday, as the country will send 5000 anti-tank launchers, 5000 body armors, 5000 combat helmets, and 135 000 24h field rations. to Ukraine. The country’s prime minister underlined that the decision to send this kind of military aid is the first time Sweden has sent weapons to a country in an armed conflict since the Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939.

Swedish media reported that Ukraine had specifically requested the Robot-57 anti-tank system also known as the NLAW and AT-4 disposable anti-tank launcher. The NLAW is a joint British and Swedish short-range fire-and-forget anti-tank missile system. Designed for use by infantry, the NLAW is shoulder-fired and disposable, firing once before being disposed of. The AT4 is a Swedish 84 mm (3.31 in) unguided, man-portable, single-shot, disposable, recoilless smoothbore anti-tank weapon built by Saab Bofors Dynamics (previously Bofors Anti-Armour Systems). The AT4 requires little training and is quite simple to use, making it suitable for general issues.

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The promised military materiel support to Ukraine has been delivered.
The promised military materiel support to Ukraine has been delivered. (Photo by Antonia Sehlstedt/Försvarsmakten)

The AT4 may be considered a disposable, low-cost alternative to a Carl Gustaf 8.4cm recoilless rifle. The AT4 took many of its design features from the Carl Gustaf, which operates on the principle of a recoilless weapon, where the forward inertia of the projectile is balanced by the inertia of propellant gases ejecting from the rear of the barrel. But unlike the Carl Gustaf, which uses a heavier and more expensive steel tube with rifling, the disposable AT4 design greatly reduces manufacturing costs by using a reinforced smoothbore fiberglass outer tube. Being a disposable gun also allows for lighter and cheaper construction.

In a single-use disposable gun, the barrel only needs to be able to contain a single pressure spike when firing, when it can be disposed of, even if it is ruined, burnt-out and strained, unlike traditional guns which are required to survive many pressure spikes without failure and thus need to be strongly overbuilt and made of heat-proof materials. Pressures are also kept quite low compared to many traditional guns. This lightweight and thin barrel and low pressure, combined with the almost complete lack of recoil, means that relatively large projectiles can be utilized, which would otherwise be impossible in a man-portable weapon.

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