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M136 AT4

The M136 AT4 is the Army's primary light anti-tank weapon. The M136 AT4 is a recoilless rifle used primarily by Infantry Forces for engagement and defeat of light armor. The recoilless rifle design permits accurate delivery of an 84mm High Explosive Anti-Armor warhead, with negligible recoil. The rifle's High Explosive Anti-Tank warhead provides excellent penetration capability and lethal after-armor effects.

The M136 AT4 is a lightweight, self-contained, antiarmor weapon consisting of a free-flight, fin-stabilized, rocket-type cartridge packed in an expendable, one-piece, fiberglass-wrapped tube. The M136 AT4 is man-portable and is fired from the right shoulder only. The launcher is watertight for ease of transportation and storage. Unlike the M72-series LAW, the M136 AT4 launcher need not be extended before firing. The system weighs approximately 15 lbs and is man-portable. The M136 AT4's warhead uses an extremely destructive, 440-gram shaped-charge explosive that can penetrate more than 14 inches (35.6 cm) of armor.

Though the M136 AT4 can be employed in limited visibility, the firer must be able to see and identify the target and estimate the range to it. Subsequent to the initial fielding of the weapon, a reusable night sight bracket was developed and fielded. It permits utilization of standard night vision equipment. The system's tactical engagement range is 250 meters and has been used in multiple combat situations. The round of ammunition is self-contained in a disposable launch tube. The system weighs 15 pounds and can be utilized effectively with minimal training.

The M136 AT4's warhead has excellent penetration ability and lethal after-armor effects. The extremely destructive, 440 gram shaped-charge explosive penetrates more than 14 inches (35.6 cm) of armor.

  • (1) Impact. The nose cone crushes; the impact sensor activates the fuze.
  • (2) Ignition. The piezoelectric fuze element activates the electric detonator. The booster detonates, initiating the main charge.
  • (3) Penetration. The main charge fires and forces the warhead body liner into a directional gas jet that penetrates armor plate.
  • (4) After-armor effects (spalling). The projectile fragments and incendiary effects produce blinding light and destroy the interior of the target.

M136 AT4 launchers are marked with color-coded bands). A black with yellow band indicates an HE antiarmor round (early models had a solid black band). A gold or yellow band indicates a field handling trainer; no band indicates an M287 9-mm tracer bullet trainer.

AT4CS Confined Space

AT4CS is the world's only anti-armor weapon that is fully operational in confined spaces. The addition of the AT4CS weapon is a major new component of the revolutionary MAAWS weapon system acquisition program. The AT4CS is a lightweight, disposable, one-user autonomous 84mm weapon. It is safely and effectively fired from confined space to defeat various military targets, including lightly armored vehicles, at both near and extended ranges. Research and development of the AT4CS began in Sweden in the late 1980s to meet the Army's operational needs to engage targets in urban settings.

AT4CS was fielded quickly in response to the global war on terrorism. The single-use AT4CS weighs 17 pounds and is just over three feet long. It can be used against targets up to 900 feet away from the Soldier's position inside a building, providing him protection from direct and indirect fire.

The USSOCOM Advanced Demolition Weapons project, initiated in FY 2001 with a two phase approach, is evaluating candidate shoulder-fired weapons developed by Diehl/Dynamit Nobel of Germany and Bofors of Sweden. The first phase (Anti-Tank 4 Confined Space High Penetration (AT4CS HP)) provided the urgent confined space capability to SOCOM users. The second phase (AT4CS RS, RS for Reduced Sensitivity) made significant improvements to the phase I systems (AT4CS HP) with fuze and explosive upgrades to meet safety review board requirements. Both phases of this project provide a critical capability to Special Operations Forces missions, including, engagement of targets from a confined space, Military Operations in Urban Terrain, anti-armor, and direct engagement of targets in protected/covered areas. In FY 2003 the project completed all safety tests and limited safety confirmation obtained; Testing demonstrated the system to be effective and can be safely fired from confined spaces; Systems were procured and immediately deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq; Milestone C production approval received in August 2003.

Saab received an award for AT4CS from the US Army as one of the top ten innovations in 2003. In 2004 the Army placed an order for the further developed AT4CS after an extensive United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) qualification.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:50:18 ZULU