MANUFACTURER(S): State Factories - France
ACTION: Impact Detonated; Fragmentating
SIGHTS: Fitted to Rifle element.
Detailing the development and operational history of the APAV40 (Anti-Personnel / Anti-Vehicule, 40mm) Anti-Personnel / Light Anti-Tank Rifle Grenade.
Entry last updated on 10/3/2017.
Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com.
The rifle grenade began receiving noticeable attention in the early part of the last century when the Japanese undertook various experiments to provide their rifleman with a grenade-projecting capability that went far beyond the standard throwing action. This eventually led to widespread use of a projectile fitted to the muzzle end of a service rifle - typically by way of an adapter of some sort - and the projectile's propellant actuated by some means of local ignition - usually a "blank" cartridge inserted into the firing chamber with the rifle fired as normal. It was the French that adopted the rifle grenade in useful numbers during World War 1 (19114-1918) and other world powers soon followed to gain the advantage on the battlefield.
In modern times, a grenade-launching capability still forms a part of the infantry company and several variations of the base idea are used - Under Barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGLs) and dedicated, stand-alone grenade launchers being the usual implements. Some fighting forces have retained the rifle grenade as standard issue including the French Army who operate the "APAV 40" dual-role solution supported by their FAMAS bullpup assault rifles. This rifle grenade was designed in the mid-1950s.
The APAV 40 is a missile-shaped projectile that it can be used to engage either dug-in enemy infantry or light armored vehicles through indirect or direct line-of-sight firing. For the former, the projectile strikes at infantry by way of a fragmentating body that sends shards of piercing/slicing metal about an area. This is usually suitable to dislodge, maim, or kill stubborn enemy elements at range. For the latter role, the projectile is rated to pierce armor up to 100mm thick and its direct fire action is aided by the "Alidade" sighting system, an attachment added along the forward section of the FAMAS carrying handle. This attachment is ranged out to 100 meters to provide some accuracy over range. The grenade features a blunt head for impacting and a finned tail unit for stabilization during its flight path. Its caliber is 40mm and an overall weight of 405 grams is reported along with an overall length reaching 352mm. Its portability allows a rifleman to carry several rifle grenades into combat. The filling is comprised of a hexogen-tolite (RDX-TNT) mix.
The original APAV 40 F1 model required actuation through a blank cartridge fired from the assault rifle. The more modern APAV 40 F2 variant now relies on a live-round firing system utilizing a bullet-trap arrangement.
The AC58 is another rifle grenade adopted by the French Army and designed for the anti-armor role. This weapon is also supported by the FAMAS rifle.