Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa, or Polish Armaments Group is the holding company of 60 Polish armaments companies (one of which is Fabryka Broni, producing the MSBS). Recently an announcement was made on Polish defense news service Defense24 that PGZ will be bringing a suite of 40x46mm grenade launchers to market, specifically aimed at adoption by Polish armed forces and law enforcement entities. Produced by a collaboration of PGZ owned Dezamet and ZM Tarnów, these are the SBAO-40 suite of GPBO-40 UBGL and it’s modified variant, the GSBO-40 stand alone launcher. These launchers are very similar in concept to H&K’s 320 which can be ordered as a UBGL or a stand alone as well. Also similar is the short barrel length, left side opening breech to accommodate longer grenades, and a user-friendly pistol grip. The UBGL is designed to be coupled with the 5.56x45mm NATO Beryl assault rifle currently in use by Polish forces. If the MSBS rifle completely takes over, there will most likely be a picatinny attachment that allows the GPBO-40 to mount to the underside of the MSBS.
Also mentioned is the somewhat older but nonetheless new to TFB readers, the 6 round RGP-40 patterned after the infamous Milknor design. Apparently, the operational requirement for the launcher was propelled by contact with U.S. Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and Polish forces becoming impressed with the M32 in use by U.S. Marines. Although the M32 does have a tremendous advantage over the single round launched by a UBGL or stand alone, its weight makes it cumbersome to carry on dismounted foot patrols for extended periods of time thus practically confining it to static positions or mobile missions.
A reader has pointed out to us that the article might have been slightly misleading-
That Defence24 article is very misleading. RGP-40 and SBAO-40 are not new designs. In fact SBAO-40 family was designed between 2005 and 2009, with first adoption by Polish Armed Forces in 2010. Design was overhauled in 2012.
What is new is that PGZ/PAG seems to be marketing these launchers for the first time for foreign customers. However, I’m not sure if these weren’t displayed in manufacturer’s booths (ZM Dezamet and ZM Tarnów, as opposed to PGZ booth) during various trade shows in the past.
MSBS is going to get it’s own UBGL. First proposition was an unnamed “bullpup GL” with trigger located in front of the chamber (directly under muzzle). In 2016 this design was scraped and replaced with a more conventional design called GP. Both are evolutions of SBAO-40, but not considered a part of that family.