Aircraft / Aviation Vehicles & Artillery Infantry Arms Warships & Submarines Military Pay Chart (2023) Military Ranks
Infantry Small Arms / The Warfighter

MBB Armbrust (Crossbow)

Recoilless Disposable Light Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher [ 1980 ]

The MBB Armbrust shoulder-launched, man-portable rocket launcher appeared in the latter stages of the Cold War and delivered a 67mm ant-tank projectile.

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 08/17/2017 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

By the 1980s, the threat of Soviet armor pouring into Western Europe was no less a threat than in the years following the close of World War 2 (1939-1945). Ground Zero for a new conflict emanating from the Cold War would have been Germany which was, at this point, divided in the post-war period into an East (Soviet-dominated) and a West territory. One of the many ongoing challenges facing NATO warplanners was in equipping their regular infantry with portable tank-killing solutions.

Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) of West Germany began work on a new man-portable, shoulder-fired rocket launcher which became the "Armbrust" ("Crossbow") anti-armor and self-defense weapon system. Its design was largely conventional - a launch tube with included optics being at the heart of the weapon - and fired a 67mm unguided, fin-stabilized rocket projectile. Overall weight was 6.3 kilograms and overall length was 850mm. As a recoilless weapon design, the Armbrust's launching action relied on a pair of pistons which helped to control the recoil force of the launching rocket projectile. In this way, the mass of the projectile equaled that of the launcher - the forward piston impacting the exiting projectile out of the muzzle end and the rear piston ejecting a counter-mass collection of shredded plastic/metal rods from the rear of the tube - negating recoil. This unique action allowed the Armbrust to be fired from within the confines of a building (urban warfare) while emitting very little smoke and tell-tale sound which served to conceal the firer laying in ambush.©MilitaryFactory.com
The launch area of the weapon required a minimum of just 3.5 feet. Muzzle velocity was 690 feet-per-second with an effective range out to 980 feet and a maximum range out to 4,900 feet. Warhead penetration was up to 300mm of steel armor and the projectile held some value against structures as well. As an inherently disposable design, the launcher held only a single shot requiring an infantryman to carry several of these weapons into based on the level of enemy armor to be expected.

The weapon's general arrangement was largely conventional as man-portable rocket projectors went. The launch tube made up most of the design with the optics offset to the left side of the tube. The launcher was then positioned over the right shoulder prior to firing. The sighting device was illuminated for low-light / night time actions and the launcher's action managed through a trigger-based, pistol grip-style arrangement. The grip assembly was hinged to fold up alongside the bottom of the launch tube for compactness during travel and transport was further aided by a shoulder strap. The muzzle end of the tube was clearly slotted for quick identification.

The Armbrust saw considerable combat service during its time as a frontline solution - though none were during an assumed Soviet invasion of Western Europe. It was in use during the Cambodian-Vietnam War (1977-1991), the Croatian War of Independence (1991-1995), the Slovenian War of Independence / Ten-Day War (1991), the Cambodian-Thai border stand-off (2008-2011), and - most recently - the Lahad Datu stand-off (2013). Its manufacturing rights were eventually sold off to Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS) and the product then fell under the revised CIS brand label of ST Kinetics from there. Operators became Albania, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, Indonesia, Kosovo, Philippines, Singapore, and Slovenia. Variants included the Armbrust AT, Armbrust AP, Armbrust Ub, and Armbrust SC.

The Armbrust's successor arrived with the 90mm MATADOR (Man-Portable, Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) of 2000. This weapon became a joint German-Israeli-Singaporean design and is detailed elsewhere on this site.©MilitaryFactory.com
Note: The above text is EXCLUSIVE to the site www.MilitaryFactory.com. It is the product of many hours of research and work made possible with the help of contributors, veterans, insiders, and topic specialists. If you happen upon this text anywhere else on the internet or in print, please let us know at MilitaryFactory AT gmail DOT com so that we may take appropriate action against the offender / offending site and continue to protect this original work.


Service Year

Germany national flag graphic


Recoilless Disposable Light Anti-Tank Rocket Launcher

Messerschmitt-Bolkow-Blohm (MBB) - West Germany / CIS-ST Kinetics - Singapore
(View other Arms-Related Manufacturers)
National flag of Albania National flag of Belgium National flag of Chile National flag of modern Germany National flag of Indonesia National flag of the Philippines National flag of Singapore National flag of Slovenia Albania; Belgium; Brunei; Cambodia; Chile; Indonesia; Kosovo; Philippines; Singapore; Slovenia; West Germany
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Anti-Armor / Anti-Tank / Anti-Material
Designed to engage and defeat armor / enemy tanks at range.

Overall Length
850 mm
33.46 in
Barrel Length
850 mm
33.46 in
Empty Wgt
13.89 lb
6.30 kg

Included Optics


Trigger-Actuated; Single-Shot; Disposable

(Material presented above is for historical and entertainment value and should not be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation - always consult official manufacturer sources for such information)



Sample Visuals**

Graphical image of a shoulder-fired rocket projectile
Rounds / Feed

Cartridge relative size chart
*May not represent an exhuastive list; calibers are model-specific dependent, always consult official manufacturer sources.
**Graphics not to actual size; not all cartridges may be represented visually; graphics intended for general reference only.
Max Eff.Range
980 ft
(299 m | 327 yd)
Muzzle Velocity
690 ft/sec
(210 m/sec)

Armbrust ("Arrow") - Base Series Name
Armbrust AT
Armbrust AP
Armbrust Ub
Armbrust SC

Military lapel ribbon for the American Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for pioneering aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon representing modern aircraft
Military lapel ribbon for the Ukranian-Russian War
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2

Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns / operations.

Images Gallery

1 / 1
Image of the MBB Armbrust (Crossbow)
Image copyright www.MilitaryFactory.com; No Reproduction Permitted.


Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Cookies

2023 Military Pay Chart Military Ranks DoD Dictionary Conversion Calculators Military Alphabet Code Military Map Symbols

The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.

Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org (World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft), WDMMW.org (World Directory of Modern Military Warships), SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane, and MilitaryRibbons.info, cataloguing military medals and ribbons.

View day-by-day actions of the American Civil War with CivilWarTimeline.net. View day-by-day actions of World War II with SecondWorldWarHistory.com.

©2023 www.MilitaryFactory.com • All Rights Reserved • Content ©2003-2023 (20yrs)