US Army personnel firing an AT-4 during training.
Source: US Army - © Public domain
The AT4 is a rocket launcher of Swedish origin. It was developed by Bofors to replace the earlier Miniman and to offer a sort of disposable single shot Carl Gustav. The AT4 is a potent weapon but will not piece the most modern main battle tank armor over the frontal arc. A much larger version which was able to do that, called the AT12, was being developed, but was cancelled as the Cold War came to an end.
The AT4 is a preloaded single shot weapon that is disposed once used. The design is based on the earlier Miniman, but features a larger caliber rocket. The larger caliber allows for a larger warhead and 84mm was chosen in order to reuse many components from the Carl Gustav recoilless rifle. The smoothbore rigid launch tube is made from fiberglass. The launch tube includes a forward grip, flip up sights with adjustable rear sight and trigger button. Various types of warheads exists. All warheads are also produced in a form that uses the Davis countershot principle for use in confined spaces.
The original version uses a HEAT warhead of similar design as used on the Carl Gustav. The penetration is over 400 mm RHA. Other versions with HEDP and extra high penetration are also available. The effective range is 300 meters with the maximum range being 500 meters.
The main user of the AT4 is the US military. It was adopted as the M136 and remains in use today. The AT4 was also acquired by many European and various nations around the world. The AT4 will likely remain in production even though more capable anti-armor weapons such as the MBT LAW are entering production.
The AT4 started out with only a single model. Over time variants were developed with new warhead types or a different firing method. Whereas the regular AT4 uses a backlast launch method, the Confined Spaces (CS) variants use a countershot principle. All CS models can be identified by their straight launch tube, whereas the conventional models feature a slightly conical rear end. The CS models are a bit heavier and likely cost more.
AT4 shown with optional night sight.
Source: US DoD - © Public domain
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