Armed Forces

The Polish industry may participate in the evolution of next-generation anti-tank weapons [INTERVIEW]

A T-72 Main Battle Tank hit by RGW-90 in the HEAT mode. Photo: DND.
A T-72 Main Battle Tank hit by RGW-90 in the HEAT mode. Photo: DND.

DND offers many advanced technical solutions, e.g. rocket propellant technology or warhead design with cutting edge performance against reactive armor. (…) After selection of the RGW systems for the Polish Armed Forces, a first major step of technology transfer can be achieved within months – as Michael Humbek, Chief Executive Officer of Dynamit Nobel Defence tells in an interview.

Jakub Palowski: DND has been supplying various NATO forces with anti-tank grenade launchers for quite a long time. Recently, Poland has expressed an interest in purchasing a single-use launcher system for its Armed Forces, including the Territorial Defence Forces, within the Grot project. What is DND offer for the Grot project?

Michael Humbek, Chief Executive Officer of Dynamit Nobel Defence: First and foremost, DND - as the technology leader in the area of shoulder fired weapon systems - is offering a close partnership and dialogue with the authorities in Poland. Our understanding is that the Polish Armed Forces are looking for capability to enable the individual soldier with a state-of-the-art anti-tank system that has the performance to engage most prevalent armored systems on the battlefield and is versatile as well as easy to handle.

Our RGW (Recoilless Grenade Weapon) concept is the perfect fit for this requirement, and in addition to the various RGW systems that we propose, we are offering to engage in a partnership that will result in a technology transfer to the benefit of the Armed Forces and the Polish industry. We have selected the latest upgrades out our well proven anti-tank capabilities. The Polish industry base would participate in the next evolution step of shoulder-fired disposable anti-tank munitions. 

What are the general principles of RGW family of systems design? To what extent do they ensure confined space capability?

The RGW series (available in 60mm and 90mm, and soon in 110mm variants) are a family of Davis Gun principle, recoilless, shoulder-launched, single-soldier operated, disposable weapons for anti-tank, anti-structure and multipurpose uses. Their warhead is integrated into an even-caliber launch tube, resulting in short weapon length and a balanced weight. Most of our variants offer various firing modes, making the munitions very versatile. In any case, DND focuses on unmatched warhead performance and precision. 

The Davis-Gun principle together with the advanced design of the counter-mass leads to a capability that goes beyond a confined-space-capability, as RGW systems can be fired from enclosures with a room size as small as 15m3. As urban operations gain in importance, a dedicated fire from enclosure capability is a vital contribution to the flexibility on the battlefield.

RGW90 LRMP operator ready to engage targets up to 1200m. Photo: DND.
RGW-90 may be effectively used in urban areas. Photo: DND. 

Our systems make use of a sustainer rocket motor that leads to a flat trajectory, a reduced flight to target time, a crosswind insensitivity and a high first shot hit probability at all ranges. Another design principle is the easiness of use for the individual shooter. Whoever can handle an assault rifle will be able to fire and hit with RGW munitions! This key characteristic reduces training effort and resources. 

RGW has been a success story so far, with more than 14 countries (EU/NATO and preferred partners) fielding our munitions, with several more that are in close discussions with DND.

Armored vehicles, including Main Battle Tanks, are increasingly being equipped with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA). Are the DND single-use anti-tank systems, including the RGW 90 grenade launcher, capable of penetrating the Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)? 

The trademark of Dynamit Nobel Defence has historically always been the variety of munition types with excellent and unmatched warhead performance against even the most heavily armored vehicles and even main battle tanks.

Our RGW90 series is including the RGW90 HH-T (HEAT/HESH-Tandem) munition, featuring an optimized tandem shaped charge warhead to overcome heavy reactive armor. The weapon will penetrate modern tank armor from various directions and hit angles after overcoming heavy ERA.

A solider with RGW110 grenade launcher. Photo: DND.

Our upcoming RGW110 series will introduce the RGW110 HH-T. This very system can be seen as a true successor of our iconic legacy Panzerfaust 3 weapon. Its tandem shaped charge warhead will penetrate even the latest and upcoming tank armor concepts. Due to the deep knowledge of DND in the area of explosive reactive armor the tandem warheads of DND are proven to produce the needed devastating effect behind different types of reactive armor.

To what extent are the RGW 90 family of systems capable of engaging moving targets? What is the specific of Dynahawk sighting systems and what are its capabilities? To what extent can RGW be used effectively in adverse weather conditions – like side wind?

The engagement of moving targets is dependent of the sight system used. DND offers different standard sight options as well as intelligent sight options and is flexible to adapt any kind of sight system according to customer requirements. The standard day sight of the anti-tank systems comes with range estimation frames, aiming marks as well as lead marks to engage moving targets with a speed of up to 40 km/h.


RGW 90 HH-T Grenade Launcher with 4x30 Fire Control System. Photo: DND.

The use of an intelligent sight solution like the fire control system Dynahawk or our 4x30 FCS improves the performance against moving targets and enhances the range of operation – it strengthens the combat value of the weapon system. Both FCS are sighting devices with a laser range finder, ballistics computer, mode-programming functionality and internal display. They allow the shooter to engage targets with a high first hit probability even at high ranges. With respect to the engagement of moving targets, the perfect aiming position is calculated automatically via the measurement of the respective target-range, elevation and angular velocity.

The RGW90 systems as well as the RGW110 systems can be equipped with an interface for FCS adaption, so that a modular weapons family around an interchangeable FCS emerges. The FCS detects the type of ammunition and the appropriate operating menu is selected automatically when attached to the launcher.

Together with easy attachable night vision devices, thermal imagers or red dot sights, the RGW systems are fully capable of being used by night. For easy attachment and release of those additional devices, standard picatinny rails are used.

A mobile simulation system which can be used to train RGW-90 operators. Photo: DND.

The Territorial Defence Forces command has indicated that it needs a system that is easy to train and simple to operate (also for Territorial Service/reserve soldiers) – how would you respond to that?

Soldiers can be trained very fast and efficiently to operate our shoulder launched weapons. Without having to conduct ammunition loading or any other complicated preparation before firing, handling of our systems is intuitive and easy. Our weapons being recoilless and intuitive to use means that even a first-time shooter will yield excellent hit probability and results. Within less than one hour, a soldier can learn handling and firing of our weapon systems to an extent that they are ready for live firing exercises.  

DND offers a full range of training solutions - drill weapons, Sub Caliber Training Weapons, Full Caliber Training Weapons as well as the fully mobile training simulator DynaSim. This training equipment enables to conduct a holistic, stepwise and cost-effective training approach. 

Poland has indicated that it would need to purchase a large number of single-use grenade launcher systems and it is willing for an industrial cooperation. What is the industrial cooperation offer of DND? Does DND plan or consider license manufacturing of RGW systems in Poland if RGW was selected for the Polish Armed Forces? What are the Polish companies that you take into account to cooperate with (e.g. Mesko, PGZ)? 

In the past and today, DND is not only a supplier but sees itself as close partner. Therefore, we are taking the modernization effort of the Polish procurement agencies very seriously. Poland has a strong and extremely capable Defence industry (the companies mentioned above are a perfect example), which enables DND to ensure a comprehensive industrial cooperation. As we are experienced in conducting industrial cooperation concepts, a detailed technology transfer plan was prepared.

We have been discussing these concepts together with Polish companies for several years already, even before the GROT program has officially been announced. After selection of the RGW systems for the Polish Armed Forces, a first major step of technology transfer can be achieved within months. 

DND offers many advanced technical solutions, e.g. rocket propellant technology or warhead design with cutting edge performance against reactive armor. Together with a strong partner DND is able to transfer those technologies in a stepwise process without development and project risks. Our concepts can ensure that the complete RGW technology could be transferred to Poland and large-scale. 

DND offers cutting edge technology not only in the area of shoulder launched weapons, but also in the field of vehicle protection. Partnership, industrial cooperation and participation in our international supply chain can be a true option as well. 

And last but not least – the RGW family has been evolving since quite a long time, so what are the major areas of improvement that are currently being pursued?

It goes without saying, that DND always works on the improvement of the existing systems, especially when it comes to weight, performance and handling.

Another key aspect of continuous improvement lies in the area of enhancing the concept of a modular platform for current and future battlefield scenarios. Future battlefield scenarios are leading straight to intelligent protection solutions, where intelligent warheads are the logical next step.

Thank you for the conversation.