The ammunition is meant for use with the Saab Bofors Dynamics Carl Gustaf shoulder mounted recoilless rifle and each round contains 1,100 steal projectiles, known as flechettes, which are spread out over a wide area.
“I think it’s totally reprehensible that Sweden manufactures and exports these types of weapons,” said Anna Ek, chair of the Svenska Freds- och skiljedomsförening (‘Swedish peace and arbitration society’), to Sveriges Radio (SR).
“It violates the intention of weapon manufacturing laws which say that manufacture only for export is prohibited.”
The Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls (Inspektionen för strategiska produkter – ISP) has approved the new ammunition for export to a handful of countries, but exactly which countries remains classified, although it’s commonly known that the United States has received the controversial munitions.
An American soldier interviewed about how the round killed 25 Afghans referred to the rounds as “the meat grinder”. Amnesty wants the ammunition to be banned and a report by the United Nations agrees that a possible can ought to be investigated, according to SR.
“It doesn’t violate any of the weapons conventions that the international community has agreed upon,” Jan-Erik Lövgren, current head of the ISP, told the radio station.
While refusing to reveal which countries have received the ammunition, Lövgren held up his hand with his five fingers extended.
The Swedish military isn’t interested in the ammunition, known as an Area Defence Munition (ADM) flechette round, but Lövgren defended the decision to approve it for export since “several countries have already bought the recoilless rifle” in which it is used.
“It’s quite natural for a customer to request supplements for a system,” he said.