Rheinmetall Introduces the Squad Support Weapon

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
Rheinmetall Squad Support Weapon (Rheinmetall)

This week at Eurosatory 2022, Rheinmetall showcased a surprise, not their first tank the KF-51 or their unmanned ground vehicle that can launch loitering missiles, but the Squad Support Weapon or SSW40. It appears that the SSW40 is a matured version of the Hydra, a prototype automatic magazine-fed grenade launcher, which was first exhibited by Rheinmetall in 2012.

Rheinmetall @ TFB:

Milkor USA’s Hydra: Handheld Automatic Grenade Launcher (Rusty S/TFB)

The original Hydra was reportedly a collaboration between Milkor USA and Rheinmetall and the last time we saw the Hydra was in 2016 when it was displayed by Milkor USA at SHOT Show 2016. The latest incarnation can engage targets out to 900 meters with a range of different ammunition types. Details on the weapon are still thin and development of the SSW40 is set to be completed in 2023.

Squad Support Weapon 40 grenade-launcher (Rheinmetall)

Here’s what Rheinmetall have to say about the SSW40:

Rheinmetall is presenting the world’s first automatic, magazine-loaded, shoulderfired grenade launcher at Eurosatory 2022. Both weight, dimensions and handling of the SSW40 are similar to assault rifles. Thanks to a recoil-reducing and selfregulating recoil system, the SSW40 (Squad Support Weapon 40) can fire all available 40mm Low Velocity (LV) ammunition types as well as the new Rheinmetall 40mm Medium Velocity (MV) ammunition.

The new MV ammunition has a significantly increased velocity and a flat trajectory, allowing targets to be engaged more quickly and increasing the effective range of the system to 900m. Combined with the broad spectrum of Rheinmetall’s 40mm LV/MV ammunition portfolio, the infantry user achieves unprecedented flexibility and effectiveness on the battlefield of the future.

Due to the 40mm MV ammunition, the development of the SSW40 is closely related to the turret independent secondary weapon system (TSWA, Turmunabhängige Sekundärwaffenanlage in German) for the Puma infantry fighting vehicle. The TSWA enables the engagement of targets in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle with both non-lethal effectors as well as the lethal warheads of the new 40mm MV ammunition family. The market introduction of this 40mm MV ammunition family was decisive for the SSW40, the development of which will be completed in 2023.

The 40mm MV ammunition family combines Rheinmetall’s combined experience in 40mm LV and High Velocity (HV) ammunition. Therefore, the SSW40 can be used with the following ammunition types:

 HE Fragmentation (HEFRAG16)
 Anti-Tank (HEDP16)
 Door Breaching (HEBE14)
 Air Burst (HEAB)
 Training (TPM, TPM-T)
 Illumination / Fog
 Sound & Flash and Stimulus Ammunition (CS)

Via a quick magazine change, the SSW40 can be used in any near peer as well as asymmetric conflict scenario and offers superior firepower in any terrain, even against medium-weight armoured vehicles. The interfaces on the SSW40 also allow the inclusion of laser light modules, fire control sights as well as IR programmers for aerial explosive point ammunition.

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: TheFirearmBlog.com & Overt Defense.com. Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at: matt@thefirearmblog.com

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2 of 52 comments
  • Anon. E. Moose Anon. E. Moose on Jun 21, 2022

    This thing looks obnoxiously bulky, beyond the XM29 OICW almost. How much ammunition can you carry with you for this monstrosity?

  • Uncle Yar Uncle Yar on Jun 21, 2022

    This thing? Too heavy and bulky. I ain't carrying it around. Neither is anyone else who needs to walk. At least LAWs, AT4s, hell, even NLAWs doesn't protrude in all directions.

    That said, 40mm MV ammo family is good stuff. If there's a particular need for intensive, organic 40mm fire support. It'd do a lot better to give every other person a standalone 40mm launcher than issue this out 1 per squad or platoon.

    Carrying an M320 or similar off the belt/thigh and two ammo belt/bandolier of 40mm (12x each) on top of a rifle kit is actually doable. Not a good day, but realistic.