MATADOR (Man-portable Anti-Tank, Anti-DOoR) is a 90 mm (3.5 in) man-portable, disposable anti-armor weapon system developed in collaboration between Singapore and Israel. It is an updated version of the German Armbrust design, and operates on the same principles. The development of this weapon began in 2000 and the MATADOR will eventually replace the German-Singaporean Armbrust Light Anti-tank Weapon which has been in service since the 1980s.
The MATADOR was developed jointly by the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) and the Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA), in collaboration with Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) joint team. The MATADOR is among the lightest in its class. The warhead is effective against both vehicle armor and brick walls. The weapon has little backblast, making it safe for operation in confined spaces.
The MATADOR is supposed to be capable of defeating the armor of most known armored personnel carriers and light tanks in the world. The dual-capability warhead, when acting in the delay mode, creates an opening greater than 450 mm (18 in) in diameter in a double brickwall, and acting as an anti-personnel weapon against those behind the wall, offering an unconventional means of entry when fighting in built-up areas.
The MATADOR’s projectile is claimed to be insensitive to wind due to its propulsion system which results in a highly accurate weapon system. The warhead can be used in both High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) and High Explosive Squash Head (HESH) modes against armor and walls and other fortifications respectively. Selection is done by extending a “probe” (most likely a fuse extender) for HEAT mode and leaving the “probe” retracted for HESH mode.
Similar to the Armbrust, the countermass counteracts the recoil of the weapon upon firing. The countermass consists of shredded plastic which is projected out of the rear of the weapon when it is fired. This plastic is rapidly slowed by air resistance allowing the weapon to be fired safely within an enclosed space. In addition, the positioning of the countermass takes into consideration the centre of gravity of the weapon to ensure good balance for greater accuracy.
Further variants of MATADOR have also been developed by Rafael and Dynamit Nobel, designed primarily for anti-structure use by soldiers operating in dense urban environments.
MATADOR-MP: Multi-purpose weapon with a warhead effective against a wide variety of ground targets, from light armored vehicles to fortified positions and urban walls. As with the initial MATADOR,
this is achieved with a dual-mode fuze, which has been improved on the MATADOR-MP such that it now automatically discriminates between hard and soft targets rather than requiring the operator to manually make the selection. A dedicated targeting device, mounted on its Picatinny rail, incorporates a reflex sight and laser rangefinder to provide a high hit probability.
MATADOR-WB: Specialized wall-breaching weapon, featuring an Explosively-formed Ring (EFR) warhead that breaches a man-sized hole, between 75 cm (30 in) to 100 cm (39 in) across, in typical
MATADOR-AS: Anti-structure weapon with an advanced tandem warhead that can also be set between two modes. The anti-emplacement mode uses an enhanced blast effect to defeat structures and fortifications, while the penetrating/mouse-holing mode defeats light armored vehicles and creates mouseholes in urban walls. MATADOR-AS has been ordered by the British Army, and is slated for service entry in 2009! The MATADOR saw its first combat deployment in January 2009, by Israeli Defence Force soldiers during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. MATADOR-WB in particular was used to breach walls in structures, allowing IDF troops to pass through and attack opponents inside.
Weight: 8.9 kg (19 lb 10 oz)
Length: 1 m (3 ft 3 in)
Caliber: 90 mm (3.5 in)
Muzzle velocity: 250 m/s (820 ft/s)
Effective range: 500 m (1,600 ft)
Feed system: Disposable
Sights: Integral optical sights; Night Vision Device on a Picatinny rail