ARMAMENT RESEARCH SERVICES: DISPATCHES
New Iranian Shoulder-Fired Multipurpose Weapon Exhibited
By Yuri Lyamin
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, a large public exhibition of the defence achievements of the Iranian Armed Forces and military industry was held. This exhibition, titled “Eghtedar 40” (“Power 40”) showcased Iranian-made ballistic missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), armoured fighting vehicles, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) and other large systems. Small arms and light weapons were also showcased, and one of the most interesting amongst these was a previously unseen Iranian shoulder-fired multipurpose weapon. A launcher, a mock-up of the munition and a video appearing to show testing were all displayed.
It appears that this weapon is still undergoing tests and has not been adopted for service (as of 2019). The configuration of the weapon seems fairly typical, and it is likely similar to other weapons in its class in terms of its physical characteristics. However, it appears that it uses a multipurpose warhead—at least as shown in a video—primarily intended to engage enemy personnel in light cover, light armoured vehicles and structures. This concept is growing in popularity globally; although some examples of these weapons have been around for some time. Other systems using a projectile of this type include the Russian RMG, Chinese DZJ-08 and German MATADOR.
Generally, weapons of this type feature a tandem warhead in order to allow for penetration of structures whilst still conveying a lethal effect within. These warheads differ from tandem HEAT warheads designed to penetrate enhanced vehicle armour, however. Typically, the first stage of a “multipurpose” munition design is a HEAT warhead, designed to penetrate armour or part of a structure. This essentially clears a path for the second warhead. The second stage is generally an HE (high explosive), HE-FRAG or thermobaric design, designed to inflict devastating damage on personnel inside the vehicle or structure. Of course, this tandem design must strike a balance between penetration through the intermediary barrier and damage to people behind the barrier. Such designs are less effective at penetrating armour than advanced tandem HEAT types and produce a reduced destructive effect compared to a large HE-FRAG or thermobaric warhead.
It is quite likely that this new design has emerged in Iran now as a result of the experiences gained during intense urban fighting in Syria. Protracted battles through war-torn cities and towns have, in many cases, posed a steep learning curve for Iranian forces in the country. According to information provided by an Iranian source, this new weapon has a maximum range of 500m and can penetrate approximately 300mm thick intermediary barriers.
Special thanks to an Iranian source.
This article is reproduced courtesy of Armament Research Services (ARES). See armamentresearch.com for further original content.
Houthi Forces Capture Belgian FN Herstal F2000 Rifles in Yemen
By Jonathan Ferguson
In May 2019, a Belgian news outlet, VRT NWS, reported that the Saudi National Guard were using FN Herstal F2000® bullpup self-loading rifles in Yemen. With ongoing combat between the Arab Coalition and Houthi-aligned forces, it was all but inevitable that some of these exotic-looking, polymer-encased weapons would be captured or seized.
The first confirmed sighting of an F2000 in Yemen is believed to date from March 2018, when Houthi forces, fighting in the same border area, were seen recovering an F2000 from a Saudi outpost. The weapon was fitted with the GL1 (also known as the LG1), an under-barrel grenade launcher.
In June 2019, two further examples, both fitted with the GL1 under-barrel grenade launchers, were captured by Houthi forces during a battle with Saudi mechanised infantry on the Saudi/Yemeni border, near Najran. These rifles were displayed on social media alongside more mundane small arms and light weapons, hand grenades, night vision equipment and uniforms bearing National Guard insignia.
The FN Herstal F2000 is a select-fire, self-loading rifle in a bullpup configuration, chambered for the 5.56x45mm cartridge. It was developed by FN Herstal in the late 1990s and marketed from 2001. The rifle makes extensive use of polymer throughout, has ambidextrous operating controls and, unusually, ejects fired cartridge cases forward of the weapon, through an ejection chute parallel to the barrel.
It is not known definitively how many F2000 rifles or GL1 grenade launchers were sold to Saudi Arabia, but some sources have reported that 55,000 were approved for export from Belgium. As of August 2018, both weapons had been removed from the FN website and appear to have followed the U.S. FS2000® variant in being discontinued from the product range. The GL1 has been replaced by the FN40GL® Mk2.
Overall length: 690mm
Barrel length: 400mm
Weight: 3.8kg (w/ empty magazine)
Feed device: 30-round detachable box magazine
Muzzle velocity (V0): 900 m/s
Cyclic rate: 850 RPM
Overall length of rifle with LG1: 727mm
Barrel length: 230mm
Weight (empty): 1.2kg
Feed device: None (single-loaded)
Muzzle velocity (V0): 76 m/s
ARES, Conflict Materiel (CONMAT) Database. Confidential. Perth: Armament Research Services (ARES), 2019.
N.R. Jenzen-Jones, “A Tale of Two Rifles: The Proliferation of F2000 and AK-103 Self-loading Rifles Exported to Libya in 2004–2009.” Perth: Armament Research Services (ARES), 2016. http://armamentresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/ARES-Research-Report-No.-5-A-Tale-of-Two-Rifles.pdf
VRT NWS, “Saudis Using Belgian Weapons in Yemen.” May 8, 2019. https://www.vrt.be/vrtnws/en/2019/05/08/saudis-using-belgian-weapons-in-yemen.
This article is reproduced courtesy of Armament Research Services (ARES). It originally appeared on the Silah Report.