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Although the Bundeswehr's anti-tank defense will need to be fundamentally modernized in the near future, the German armed forces have now ordered the manufacture and delivery of a total of 1,087 recoilless anti-tank systems (RGW 60). The order includes the manufacture and delivery of 689 RGW 60 HEAT (DM 52) and 398 RGW 60 HESH (DM 62) systems.

Special forces of the Bundeswehr and recently also specialized forces use the weapon as a light rocket-propelled grenade in caliber 60 mm. It is introduced in the versions shaped charge (HEAT, DM52), shaped charge/fragment (HEAT-MP, DM42) and pinch head (HESH, DM62).

 

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The new RGW 90 HH A2 (above), the prototype of the RGW 90 HH-T (tandem shaped charge warhead) with the 4×30 fire control visor (middle) and the prototype of the RGW 110, here with the 4×30 fire control visor, (below) in size comparison (Photo: DND)

RGW 60

The RGW 60 consists of disposable cartridges with an integrated firing device (barrel, handle and optics). The cartridges are fired shoulder-supported and without recoil (Davis gun principle with ejected counterweight). Safe firing from closed rooms with a minimum volume of 15 m³ is also possible. The weapons have standard optics with 1.5x magnification and are suitable for night combat with the help of night vision or thermal imaging attachments.

 

The future of anti-tank defense

The Panzerfaust 3 (PzFst 3) must be replaced in the foreseeable future. Basically, users are satisfied with the performance of the Panzerfaust. However, the ergonomics (length, weight, balance, usability) must be adapted to today's requirements and the ability to grow (e.g. warhead against APS) must be ensured. The manufacturer Dynamit Nobel Defense (DND) claims that the RGW110 system family can solve this. Now we have to wait for the Bundeswehr's official capability requirements. DND employees believe that the basic system, which is also geared towards international markets, is almost complete.

The RGW 110 in its basic version (RGW110 HEAT/HESH-T) has an improved tandem warhead that is shorter, requires less integration space, has an ergonomically better skid and offers higher penetration. The effective range is up to 800 m. Compared to the PzFst 3, it is shorter (about one meter) and lighter (about three kg). It can also measure distances and has an automatic holdover point for moving targets. Dynamit Nobel works together with Hensoldt.

According to the manufacturer, the development of the prototype was almost completed by the end of 2019. The first shooting tests are scheduled to take place this year. A production version will be available in late 2021 or early 2022. The tandem warhead of the RGW 110 HEAT/HESH-T is said to be able to penetrate more than 1,000 mm of modern armor steel with additional reactive protection (Explosive Reactive Armor/ERA). Parallel to the completion of the basic version, further versions such as a Counter-APS variant and an Extended Range variant are currently being developed.

The RGW110 system family should then replace the Panzerfaust 3 as well as the RGW 60 and RGW 90 in the medium term in order to meet today's requirements on the battlefield. It is unclear whether the other systems should be completely replaced or supplemented by a second parallel system. It is also unclear whether there can be uncontrolled and controlled systems. With multiple systems, those already in place would be used by the troop portions that are not deployed at the front—if such a thing still exists on the hybrid battlefield. The new system - RGW 110 - would then only be available to infantry and special forces.

In the area of ​​guided systems, MBDA Germany recently procured the “Light Weapons 1800+” for the special forces. According to a statement by the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), the Light Weapons 1800+ is intended to enable the special forces deployed to carry out their mission in an effective range of up to more than 1,800 meters under all operational conditions that occur during the day and at night, as well as specialized tasks derived from this to be able to carry out reliably with a high first hit probability. The range of targets includes both stationary and moving targets, soft targets in and behind cover and in infrastructure against which the required effect must be achieved quickly and precisely.

Technical data according to manufacturer information

 

RGW 60 HEAT

High Explosive Anti-Tank (DM 52)

RGW 60 HEAT

High Explosive Squash Head (DM 62)

Warhead Mono-shaped charge Pinch head
caliber 60 mm
Length 88 cm
Weight 5.8 kg 6.1 kg
Distance fighting 20 to 300 m 20 to 200 m
Real power Effect against armored targets: >300mm RHA (Rolled Homogeneous Armor) Effect against structural targets: ~400mm opening size in reinforced concrete

 

MBDA has launched sales campaigns for the system in Poland and Australia, among others. In addition, the basic version is to be transferred to an entire product family. The plan is to integrate or adapt it to a wide variety of platforms, "on land, in the air or on water". For example, the Enforcer could be integrated into lighter weapon stations than MELLS (multi-role light guided missile system). Initially, an integration on the GTK Boxer is planned. However, deployments on Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) or in Remote Controlled Posts (ReCoP) could also be considered.

The Enforcer Air was addressed by MBDA at the last two symposia in Bückeburg – 30th (2017) and 31st (2019) International Helicopter Forum. This will have significantly longer ranges, up to 20 km+, as it is also gliding and has a stable trajectory. In applications close to the ground, the range is probably three to eight km. The Enforcer should be able to be used by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) or Light Utility Helicopters (LUH). Among the UAVs, the Euro Male and a number of other smaller UAVs are being considered. At a later date, MBDA can also imagine deployments in the maritime environment and as anti-tank defense.

André Forkert