US Army fields 84mm Carl-Gustaf

Soldiers who operate in urban environments or other scenarios with excess cover often have difficulty targeting hostile forces without exposing their position.

Fortunately, the US Army is now fielding a new weapon dubbed the Carl-Gustaf, or the Multi-Role Anti-Armor, Anti-Personnel Weapons system.

The weapon allows soldiers in the field to fire munitions in response to enemy rocket-propelled grenade attacks, as well as accurately target light structures. 

Indeed, the Carl-Gustaf – manufactured by Saab – fires a high explosive round that can be set to explode in the air.


“The HE round does have an airburst capability,” said Saab exec Bhuvanesh Thoguluva. “[And] it is the one that is utilized most often because of its effective range. It uses a mechanical time fuse which is set prior to loading the weapon system.”


This mode allows the projectile to be fired over a target and detonate on the other side – destroying an enemy position without direct line of sight. 

The Army purchased the weapon as part of a limited operational assessment and the Carl-Gustaf has seen its fair of comabt in Afghanistan.

According to Thoguluva, the weapon has been quite effective thus far. 

To be sure, variants of the Carl-Gustaf have been used by other branches of the military such as the Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, and other Special Forces since the late 1980’s. 

The reusable weapon is 42-inches long, weighs 21 pounds and is capable of firing up to four rounds per minute. The weapon can fire projectiles other than HE, as well as anti-tank, flechette, illumination, enhanced armor and smoke rounds. 

The Carl-Gustaf also fires dual-purpose high explosive rounds that can be set to explode on impact – or once it penetrates a specific target.