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Armbrust rocket launcher photo Iraq OIG.jpg
An Armbrust launcher (via Iraq OIG).
Type Anti-tank weapon
Place of origin West Germany
Service history
Used by See Users
Wars Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Croatian War of Independence
Slovenian War of Independence
Cambodian–Thai border stand-off
2013 Lahad Datu standoff
Production history
Designer Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)
Manufacturer Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB)
Pouderies Réunies de Belgique (PRB)
ST Kinetics (STK)
Variants Armbrust AT, Armbrust AP, Armbrust Ub, Armbrust SC
Weight 6.3 kg (13 lb 14 oz)
Length 850 mm (2 ft 9 in)
Width 126 mm (5.0 in)
Height 140 mm (5.5 in)

Caliber 67 mm (2.6 in)
Action Recoilless weapon
Muzzle velocity 210 m/s (690 ft/s)
Effective firing range 300 m (980 ft)
Maximum firing range 1,500 m (4,900 ft)
Feed system Single shot
Sights Reticle, externally illuminated for night

Armbrust (German: Crossbow) is a lightweight unguided anti-tank weapon designed and developed by Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm of Germany, who later sold its manufacturing rights to Chartered Industries of Singapore (the predecessor of ST Kinetics).


Comparing the Armbrust (top) and MATADOR (bottom)
An Armbrust 67 mm projectile (via Iraq OIG)

The Armbrust is a recoilless weapon, and is one of the few weapons of this kind that may safely be fired in an enclosed space. The propellant charge is placed between two pistons with the projectile in front of one and a mass of shredded plastic in the rear. Unlike most recoilless weapons, it is a true counter-shot weapon, as the mass of the projectile is equal to the mass of the counterweight and they are ejected from the barrel at the same initial velocity. When the weapon is fired, the propellant expands, pushing the two pistons out. The projectile is forced out of the front and the plastic out of the back. The plastic disperses on leaving the back of the barrel, and is quickly stopped by air resistance. The pistons jam at either end of the barrel, locking the hot gases inside. Its warhead can penetrate up to 300 mm of armoured steel.[1]

Since 2004, Armbrusts are gradually being replaced by the Israeli-German-Singapore co-developed MATADOR.

Combat use[edit]

During the Cambodian–Vietnamese War, Armbrust was supplied to the Cambodian Khmer Rouge. It was used in their fight against the Cambodian government, as well as against the invading Vietnamese Army.[2][3]

Slovenia and Croatia also smuggled[citation needed] in stocks of Armbrust for use by local troops against the Yugoslav People's Army in the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s.


Map with Armbrust operators in blue
Line drawing of the Armbrust (via Iraq OIG)
External images
Armbrust 1980s brochure photos
Soldier firing Armbrust
Details of Armbrust and cut-away drawing
Details of firing of Armbrust low launch signature
Details of Armbrust anti-armour and anti-personnel projectiles

Current operators[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jane's Infantry Weapons 1995-96, page 318, edited by T. Gander and I. Hogg, ISBN 0-7106-1241-9
  2. ^ New Straits Times: Khmer Rouge using Missiles made in West, March, 12. 1994
  3. ^ Die Zeit, Michael Sontheimer: Die Mörder kehren zurück, January, 12. 1990 (German)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-04-14. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Jones, Richard D. Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010. Jane's Information Group; 35 edition (January 27, 2009). ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5.
  6. ^ "Kopassus & Kopaska - Specijalne Postrojbe Republike Indonezije" (in Croatian). Hrvatski Vojnik Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2010-06-12. 
  7. ^ "Armbrust in the AFP". Retrieved 6 June 2012. 

External links[edit]