Standard MATADOR in firing position with nose probe extended for HEAT mode.
Source: Singapore ministry of defense - © copyright lies with original owner
The MATADOR is a modern era rocket launcher of German origin. It was developed in the late 1990's by Dynamit Nobel at the request of the Singapore Armed Forces to replace the Armbrust in Singaporean service. The original MATADOR was developed in conjunction with the Singapore Defence Science & Technology Agency. The later specialized versions were developed together with the Israeli company Rafael in the early 2000's. The acronym MATADOR stands for "Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR". Dynamit Nobel markets it as the RGW 90 or Panzerfaust 90.
The MATADOR follows the design principle of the earlier Armbrust, but is a larger and much more capable design. The MATADOR is a single shot disposable rocket launcher that uses the Davis countermass principle. As such it can be launched from confined spaces and has a low firing signature. It is fitted with a multipurpose warhead that functions in HEAT mode when the nose probe is manually extended and in HESH mode when unaltered. The glass fiber launch tube features two grips, a shoulder support and a basic optical sight. All of which are folded to protect the sight and trigger and for compactness. It is possible to mount a detachable frame for a higher quality sight or night vision sight.
The original MATADOR, also known as RGW 90, fires a multi mode warhead with both a HEAT and a HESH mode. The effective range is 20 to 500 meters and accuracy is good due to the high velocity. The HEAT mode is used against armored targets and will pierce 500mm RHA. In HESH mode it penetrates a concrete and creates a 45 cm hole. The special warheads have been developed besides the standard one. These include multi purpose, anti structures munition and wall breaching.
The first and main user of the MATADOR are the Singapore Armed Forces. The RGW 90 models have been sold to a few European nations and the wall breaching model has been used by Israeli forces in combat situations.
The MATADOR is the original version developed for Singapore and is also known as the RGW 90. The MATADOR features a multi mode warhead that serves in the HEAT mode against armored vehicles and in the HESH mode against buildings and bunkers. The weapon normally functions in HESH model until the nose probe is manually extended in order to select the HEAT mode. Dynamit Nobel and Rafael have developed three other warhead options under the RGW 90 (or PZF-90) designation.
The RGW 90 MP is a model with a multi purpose warhead for use against fortified positions, normal structures and light vehicles at ranges between 20 and 500 meters. The name MP stands for multi purpose. The name PZF-90 MP is sometimes used as well. In its penetrating model it can be used against bunkers and concrete walls. The HESH mode is similar to the original MATADOR and allows it to be used against conventional structures and light armored vehicles. The RGW 90 MP is marketed with a reflex sight with its reticle adjusted by a laser range finder for greater effectiveness at longer ranges.
The RGW 90 AS or Anti-Structures Munition (ASM) is a derivative of the MATADOR developed for military operations in urban terrain. The RGW 90 AS has a tandem warhead with selectable fuzing options. The forward warhead is used to create a small hole in the wall for the second warhead to enter the building and explode inside. The fuze options allow for a detonation within the wall to creata a 80 cm hole or a detonation inside. Due to the heavier warhead the range has decreased from 500 to 400 meters. The name PZF-90 AS is sometimes used for the RGW 90 AS as well.
The RGW 90 WB is a further development of the MATADOR and features a wall breaching warhead developed by Rafael. The explosive formed ring warhead will pierce a tripple brick wall and create man size hole at ranges between 20 and 120 meters. The RGW 90 WB launch tube is shorter since less propellant is needed at the shorter ranges it is to be used. The RGW 90 WB is marketed with standard sights and a reflex sight. The name PZF-90 WB is sometimes used as well.
The Matador design is based on the Armbrust. It is a larger and more capable design using the same countermass principle.
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