From the ST archives: New light and lethal Matador does job of two

From the ST archives: New light and lethal Matador does job of two
The Matador light anti-tank weapon can be fired from a confined space without harming the firer with the rocket's back blast, making it suitable for use in urban operations.

The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and its defence industry partners have achieved a breakthrough with a shoulder-fired rocket that can destroy tanks or bust through brick walls with a single warhead.

The SAF's new single-shot, light anti-tank weapon, called Matador, does a job that normally requires two different types of rocket. Matador's dual-purpose warhead helps the SAF streamline the types of weapon soldiers carry into combat.

Colonel Mark Tan, head of plans at the 9th Singapore Division/Infantry Formation, said Matador's ability to destroy a wider range of battlefield targets means the army can 'choose to give every soldier this weapon in a special environment'.

The public will get a chance to handle Matador - its name stands for 'man-portable anti-tank anti-door and wall' - for the first time after it is unveiled at the Army Open House this morning by Defence Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The short-range weapon was developed by weapons officers from the army, the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and Germany-based weapons maker Dynamit Nobel Defence.

Col Tan said Matador is due to replace the Armbrust range of light anti-tank weapons in about two years, when existing stocks are used up.

Matador is the result of the army's worldwide survey of light anti-tank weapons, carried out in 1999, to find a replacement for the Armbrust, or 'crossbow' in German.

On its wish list was a disposable lightweight weapon which can destroy armoured vehicles and penetrate walls, and have a high chance of hitting its target.

No less important was the need for simplicity, so soldiers can be trained to fire one with minimal fuss.

The army also wanted a weapon that can be fired in an enclosed space - a key requirement for urban combat.

Col Tan said the SAF's experience with the Armbrust - developed in Germany and made in Singapore since 1988 - demonstrated the value of arming soldiers with an anti-armour weapon that can be fired in an enclosed space.

However, the warhead in Armbrust rockets is designed to kill only lightly armoured vehicles.

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