PARIS — Sweden’s Saab signed a contract with Poland to provide the country with more than $1 billion worth of Carl-Gustaf M4 recoilless rifles, ammunition and training equipment, in what the company said is its largest ground-combat contract ever.

Saab expects to book the order, with a value of 12.9 billion Swedish kroner ($1.2 billion), before the end of June, the company said in a statement on Monday. The contract period runs from 2024 to 2027.

The Carl-Gustaf M4, the fourth generation of a recoilless rifle dating back to the late 1940s, has been a commercial success for Saab, with at least 15 countries buying the system. The U.S. Army in September expanded a 2019 framework contract for the Carl-Gustaf, ordering new high-explosive rounds for the system in a $105 million deal that also included AT4 disposable anti-tank systems.

“I am proud of our close relationship with the Polish Armed Forces and that Saab can continue to strengthen Poland’s ground combat capability and national defense,” Saab CEO Micael Johansson said in the statement.

The order will include several thousand Carl-Gustaf launchers as well as hundreds of thousands of rounds of various types, the Polish Ministry of National Defence said in a statement. The Carl-Gustaf M4 weighs about 7 kilograms, and consist of a shoulder-launched reusable system firing a range of 84mm rounds, including anti-armor and anti-personnel ammunitions.

Poland, which had already been in the process of rearming, boosted its military budget further following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The country is spending on everything from tanks and frigates to anti-air defense and fighter jets, and is pursuing a goal to increase the size of its military by about 60% to create a 300,000-strong army.

The Polish contract is expected to be effective by the end of the second quarter, subject to fulfilment of “certain external conditions,” Saab said, without providing details.

Saab in October received a Japanese order for more than 300 Carl-Gustaf systems for delivery in 2025, followed by a purchase from an unidentified buyer in November worth 1.3 billion kroner that helped lift the company’s order book to a record at the end of 2023.

Separately, the company said it started construction on a new Carl-Gustaf factory in India on Monday, after receiving approval for a 100% foreign direct investment. The site will be the first for the system outside Sweden, and the first foreign fully-owned defense production facility in India, according to Saab.

The company will partner with Indian suppliers and will fully meet “Make in India” requirements for systems produced at the new site in the state of Haryana, Saab said, referring to the Indian government’s mantra of prioritizing domestic production. The Indian Army has been a customer for the Carl-Gustaf system since 1976, according to the Swedish company.

Rudy Ruitenberg is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. He started his career at Bloomberg News and has experience reporting on technology, commodity markets and politics.

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