From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Type Recoilless gun
Place of origin Germany
Service history
In service2000–present
Used bySee Operators
Wars 2023 Israel-Hamas war
Production history
Designer Singapore Armed Forces,
Rafael Advanced Defense Systems,
Defence Science and Technology Agency
Manufacturer Dynamit Nobel Defence
Unit cost~€5,000 [1]
Mass8.9  kg (19  lb 10  oz)
Lengthm (3  ftin)

Caliber90  mm (3.5  in)
60  mm (2.4  in)
110  mm (4.3  in)
Muzzle velocity250 m/s (820 ft/s)
Effective firing range500 m (1,600 ft)
Feed systemDisposable
SightsIntegral optical sights
Night vision device on a Picatinny rail

The MATADOR (man-portable, anti-tank, anti-door [2]) is a 90-millimetre (3.5 in) man-portable, disposable anti-armour and anti-brickwall weapon system developed by Germany, Israel and Singapore. 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 Armbrust Light Anti-tank Weapon, which has been in service since the 1980s. [3]

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 [4] [5] and Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) joint team. [3]


The MATADOR is among the lightest in its class. The warhead is effective against both vehicle armour and brick walls. The weapon has little back-blast, making it safe for operation in confined spaces. [3]

The MATADOR is supposed to be capable of defeating the armour of most known armoured 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 brick wall, and acts as an anti-personnel weapon against those behind the wall, offering an unconventional means of entry when fighting in built-up areas. [3]

The MATADOR's projectile is claimed to be insensitive to wind due to its propulsion system, which results in a highly accurate weapon system. [3]


The warhead can be used in both high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) and high explosive squash head (HESH) modes against armour, walls, or other fortifications respectively. [3] Modes are selected by adjusting a probe (most likely a fuse extender): extending it for HEAT mode and leaving it retracted for HESH mode.

Counter-mass system

Comparing the Armbrust (top) and MATADOR (bottom).

Similar to the Armbrust, the counter-mass counteracts the recoil of the weapon upon firing. The counter-mass consists of shredded plastic, which is launched 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 counter-mass takes into consideration the centre of gravity of the weapon to ensure good balance for better accuracy. [6]


IDF soldier with a MATADOR

Variants of the original HEAT/HESH (HH) weapon have been developed by Rafael and Dynamit Nobel Defence, designed primarily for anti-structure use by soldiers operating in dense urban environments.

Multi-purpose weapon with a warhead effective against a wide variety of ground targets, from light armoured vehicles to fortified positions and urban walls. As with the initial MATADOR, this is achieved with a dual-mode fuse, 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. [4]
Specialised 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 urban walls. [7]
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 armoured vehicles and creates mouseholes in urban walls. [5] MATADOR-AS has been ordered by the British Army, and was slated for service entry in 2009. [8]
RGW 90 is a German designation for the MATADOR, with "RGW" standing for "recoilless grenade weapon". RGW 60 is a variant that is smaller and fires a 60 mm warhead, instead of the usual 90 mm. [2]

Combat history

  • The MATADOR saw its first combat deployment in January 2009, by Israel Defence Forces soldiers during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip. MATADOR-AS was used to breach walls in structures, allowing IDF troops to pass through and attack opponents inside. [9]
  • In 2022, Ukrainian forces used MATADORs supplied by Germany against Russian forces during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. [10]
  • According to reports from Ukraine, the RGW-90 is capable of penetrating lightly armoured APCs and IFVs, but not guaranteed to easily defeat tank reactive armour. “This summer, the soldiers of the 93rd Brigade fired RGW90 into the forehead of a Russian tank with reactive armor. The tank was not destroyed, but it was stopped, and soldiers who were on the top of the tank got minced,” the military stated. [11]
  • The MATADOR is seeing extensive usage in the Israel–Hamas war with numerous filmed clips of it being fired according to its Israeli main designation as a means to burst concrete obstacles. [12] During the initial Hamas offensive several MATADORs were captured by Hamas militants in Israeli bases and taken back to Gaza.


Map with MATADOR operators in blue


In December 2022 one was discharged by Polish police general commandant Jaroslaw Szymczyk inside his office at National Police Headquarters. [33]

See also


  1. ^ "Ukraine Buys 5100 Anti-Tank Weapons Co-developed by Singapore, Germany, Israel", Yahoo News, 29 March 2022, retrieved 9 March 2023
  2. ^ a b "MATADOR". Retrieved 28 May 2022.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Factsheet - MATADOR: Unguided Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon (SRAAW)" (Press release). Singaporean Ministry of Defence (MINDEF). 15 June 2005. Archived from the original on 22 October 2007. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd". Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd". Archived from the original on 9 August 2020. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  6. ^ "DSTA Press Release". Safra Radio. Archived from the original on 12 May 2009. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  7. ^ "Matador Brochure" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 December 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012. "Matador Brochure (archived)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 January 2022. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Dynamit Nobel selected in February 2006 to develop, supply and support the ASM". Armada International, Dated: 1 Aug 2007. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2008.
  9. ^ "Wall-Breaching Weapon Debuts". Defense Technology International. 1 February 2009. Archived from the original on 4 March 2009. Retrieved 14 February 2009.
  10. ^ Starr, Michael (20 April 2022). "Israeli weapon seen used by Neo-Nazi Ukrainian unit against Russia". The Jerusalem Post. Archived from the original on 9 May 2022. Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  11. ^ "The Ukrainian military shared their assessment of the RGW-90 Matador grenade launcher". Retrieved 31 May 2023.
  12. ^ "ישראל ימין עכשיו • ISRARL NOW GAZA גל פתוח". Telegram. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  13. ^ "Short range anti-armour weapon system Dynamit Nobel RGW 90AS for the Belgian army 0106138". 1 June 2013. Archived from the original on 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  14. ^ a b "UNROCA (United Nations Register of Conventional Arms)". Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  15. ^ "Belgium orders RGW90 man-portable anti-tank weapons from German company DND". 28 January 2022. Archived from the original on 11 March 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  16. ^ "Belgium to Acquire RGW90 Anti-Tank Weapon Systems". The Defense Post. 31 January 2022. Archived from the original on 14 February 2022. Retrieved 11 March 2022.
  17. ^ "UNROCA (United Nations Register of Conventional Arms)". Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  18. ^ Plan Nabave
  19. ^ "Die neue Waffe für den Haus-Gebrauch". Augen geradeaus. Archived from the original on 24 January 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  20. ^ "Weitere Wirkmittel 90 mm werden beschafft | der Monitor für Defence und Sicherheitspolitik". 26 November 2020. Archived from the original on 27 March 2022. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  21. ^ Hoffmann, Lars (14 August 2020). "Special and specialized forces of the Bundeswehr receive additional RGW 60". Retrieved 23 July 2023.
  22. ^ "Israel unleashed Bulls and Matadors on Gaza". Aviation Week. 23 February 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
  23. ^ "Breaching walls: a must in mout operations: why breach walls during a military operation? At least two answers immediately come to mind; (1) to neutralise enemy troops that are hiding in the building and (2) to open an access for one's own troops, avoiding too-obvious accesses that would quite certainly be booby-trapped. Those two aspects require two different approaches, however". 1 October 2009. Archived from the original on 1 March 2021. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  24. ^ de Cherisey, Erwan (24 September 2018). "Mexican military shows off new equipment". IHS Jane's 360. Paris. Archived from the original on 24 September 2018. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  25. ^ "MATADOR - Unguided Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon (SRAAW)". Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  26. ^ "Slovenian combat units start training with RGW-90s - Jane's Missiles and Rockets". 2 July 2008. Archived from the original on 9 May 2012. Retrieved 18 November 2012.
  27. ^ Matsuyama, Brendan (9 June 2021). "Swiss Infantry Platoon (2019-Present)". Battle Order. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  28. ^ "UNROCA (United Nations Register of Conventional Arms)". Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  29. ^ "Ukraine buys 5,100 anti-tank weapons co-developed by Singapore, Germany, Israel". 29 March 2022. Archived from the original on 29 March 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2022.
  30. ^ "Militärische Unterstützungsleistungen für die Ukraine" (in German). Presse- und Informationsamt der Bundesregierung. Retrieved 29 March 2024.
  31. ^ "Britain's Thermobaric Secret". Wired. Retrieved 22 March 2024.
  32. ^ "New weapons of Vietnam Army (by Vietnamese)". Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  33. ^ Adam Easton (17 December 2022). "Poland grenade incident: Police chief confirms unusual Ukrainian gift". BBC.

External links