The Neopup 20×42 P.A.W.

The primary mission of small arms development is to increase individual hit probability.  New developments in the field of infantry weapons are beginning to focus on compact weapons, which are able to deliver bursting munitions.

The new Neopup P.A.W (Personal Area Weapon) was conceived to satisfy the requirement for a distinct need in warfare which is not met with existing weapons.  The P.A.W. 20mm weapon’s application is direct or suppressive and its effectiveness extends to targets which are under cover.  It is a semiautomatic grenade launcher firing high performance 20mm ammunition using a relatively short cartridge case at a muzzle velocity of 310 m/s.  Grenade launchers in current use are low velocity, relatively short range weapons that use bulky ammunition and are used in a supplementary role to rifles.  To overcome the disadvantages of these weapons a more efficient concept was desired and a new compact round was developed that combines excellent ballistics and terminal effects.

To launch such a projectile, a unique new layout for the weapon was needed that was small enough to fit in future war fighting capabilities.  A new design for the weapon was devised that could isolate as much as possible from the operator the recoil of such a munition.  The pistol grip is an integral part of the stock and is positioned on the right side of the weapon.  The weapon is allowed to recoil independently into the buttstock, which decreases peak recoil to a manageable level and also allows for use by either left or right handed shooters.  The rest of the weapon makes use of well-proven, widely used elements such as a multi-lug rotating bolt, conventional gas system and a conveniently loaded six-shot rotary magazine.  Coupled to the 20x42mm cartridge, it offers the user an obvious tactical advantage.

Intended targets for the Neopup P.A.W 20mm are infantry in the open and behind cover, as well as unarmoured or lightly armoured vehicles.  Maximum range for the Neopup P.A.W 20mm is given as 1,000 meters.  This is stated for area targets such as a group of soldiers, against point targets such as small vehicles or machine gun positions.  The effective accurate range can extend to 500 meters.  Its relatively short time of flight and flat trajectory make it possible to engage targets out to this range.

The weapon is equipped with a well calibrated, easy to use ballistic compensator, which is marked in 50-meter increments from 100 to 1,000 meters.  The Neopup P.A.W can deliver an accurate high explosive capability to well beyond the range of any existing launcher in its class.

The compact configuration of the Neopup P.A.W makes it a highly flexible and portable weapon for use by a section, platoon or paratroopers.

Traditionally, use is made of relatively accurate rifles or machine guns to neutralize an enemy.  This presupposes that a target remains visible long enough to enable one to get a proper sight picture to deliver an accurate shot, this while being shot at.  Hit probability with conventional rifles is therefore not dependant on accuracy but target exposure.  Most targets will normally be under some sort of cover and are only fleetingly visible.  No amount of accurate rifle fire can compensate for this and huge volumes of fire are therefore needed to compensate for this.

However, with the Neopup P.A.W. extremely accurate fire is not essential to achieve a hit.  One can afford to miss, compared to rifles, yet still have a very high probability of hit/neutralization.  The suppressive effect of the Neopup P.A.W does not diminish with an increase in range, as the bursting munitions effect remains the same regardless of range.  Each 20mm explosive projectile will deliver well in excess of 100 lethal fragments in the vicinity of the target.

Targets under cover, especially in an urban environment are very difficult to neutralize.  Low velocity 40mm systems have extremely high trajectories and long times of flight, which make firing accurately into doorways and windows at longer ranges extremely difficult.

A comparison of the Neopup P.A.W with 40mm systems clearly highlight the vastly superior performance of the Neopup P.A.W.  Three rounds of P.A.W. occupy the same volume as one 40mm.  These three projectiles have a combined weight of 330 grams compared to 170 grams for a 40mm.  P.A.W. can deliver its projectiles much further and accurately.  Its semi-auto and quick reload magazine allows a soldier to deliver sustained accurate devastating blows out to a much further range than has been possible.

Rugged simplicity is desirable in any weapon system: easy to operate and easy to strip without tools.  P.A.W does not rely on high rates of fire, which consume large quantities of ammunition to achieve its effect.  The work of neutralizing an enemy is built into the ammunition, not the weapon.

Caliber: 20x42mm
Magazine capacity: 6 round rotary
Velocity: 310 m/s
Range: Up to 1,000 meters
Recoil: A recoil system built into the buttstock reduces recoil to a manageable level.
Weight: 6 kg
Length deployed: 845 mm
Length stowed: 770 mm
Sights: Optical red dot type
Compensator: calibrated ballistic compensator to 1,000 meters
Rails: Side by side Picatinny rails