Saab’s programmable Carl-Gustaf® munition, designated HE 448, was fired for the first time in front of an audience at a live fire event in Karlskoga, Sweden. The firings took place 3-4 May 2022 in front of an audience with representatives from 30 different nations and included shoulder-fired engagements demonstrating the capabilities of the new programmable High Explosive (HE) round. A new Fire Control Device (FCD), designated FCD 558, was also demonstarted at the event. The new HE 448 programmable round has the ability to communicate with the new Fire Control Device 558 via a new protocol known as Firebolt®.
“These firings indicates the increased battlefield capabilities of the HE 448 and that, together with the Fire Control Device 558, it is ready to be delivered to our customers. The HE 448 offers increased range and effectiveness against the target and has been developed drawing on our close customer relationships and our understanding of their requirements. The FCD 558 also gives users a new option for equipping Carl-Gustaf with a more efficient sighting solution than the baseline configuration,” says Michael Höglund, head of Saab’s business unit Ground Combat.
The HE 448 round provides the FCD 558 with the exact information on round type and propellant temperature and combines this with target distance entered by the operator to determine the best trajectory. This means that Carl-Gustaf operators will be able to quickly configure a chambered round and so increase their operational effectiveness. In December 2021, Saab was contracted to deliver the new HE 448 munition and Fire Control Device 558 to the Swedish Armed Forces.
The Carl-Gustaf is a lightweight, low-cost weapon that uses a wide range of ammunition, which makes it extremely flexible and suitable for a wide variety of roles. Improvements to the ammunition have been continual. While the older HEAT rounds are not particularly effective against modern tank armor, the weapon has found new life as a bunker-buster with an HEDP round. In addition, improved HEAT, high explosive (HE), smoke and illumination (star shell or flare) ammunition is also available. Developed in 1946, it was one of the many recoilless rifle designs of that era. While similar weapons have generally disappeared from service, the Carl-Gustaf is still in production and remains in widespread use today.