The NIVA XM1970 is a prototype Swedish bullpup weapons platform.
The standard weapon of the infantryman during the 20th century was usually an assault rifle, however, at certain times, these infantrymen may need additional weapons such as grenades or compact grenade launchers which can prove to be inconvenient when carried along with various other weapons.
Around the 1960s, many companies around the world were designing new weapon systems for infantrymen mainly to increase firepower by improving weapon actions and the like. One of those companies, Carl Gustaf Stads Gevärsfaktori, had experience designing both assault rifles and recoilless rifles, with the company ultimately deciding to combine both weapon platforms into a single combination weapon.
The resulting design was the NIVA XM1970, part of the Nytt Infanteri Vapen ("New infantry weapon") program, also known as NIVA. Weapons in this program had a designation denoting their stage in design (i.e. XM for prototypes) and the year when the weapon was designed.
The first version of the weapon produced was known to be rather simple. Designing the weapon was completed in 1970, where it was intended to be tested with data collected from these tests used to continue development of the weapon and then possibly go into production. The weapon did end up being tested, where it apparently functioned like how it was designed to, along with demonstrating the ability of its user being able to attack multiple targets using multiple means.
Despite it working as intended, the weapon did receive some criticism. Flaws were found with the weapon system that were regarded as so great that there was nobody who would want to buy the weapon system (even the military was uninterested in such a system); as such, development of the XM1970 ground to a halt due to a lack of prospects and exploitation issues, with Carl Gustaf engineers not attempting similar ideas again.
Essentially a combination of a recoilless rifle and an assault rifle into a single weapons platform, the weapon is of the bullpup platform. The assault rifle used gas operation while the recoilless rifle was breech-loaded. The charging handle of the assault rifle is located on the right hand side of the weapon.
Due to the complex ballistics of the XM1970, a special sight for the weapon had to be developed; this sight is located on the left side of the weapon. The sight combined both normal assault rifle sights and a recoilless rifle sight and could be folded up when not in use.
Switching from assault rifle to recoilless rifle modes took little time. The concept was very ingenious, but there were some glaring issues; one of the biggest issues with the system was with regards to weight. Most of the time, infantrymen would be using the assault rifle system and very rarely using weapons with more destructive power like grenades, so a loaded shell would add to the weight of the weapon. In addition, carrying both magazines and multiple additional shells will weigh down the infantryman even more, and not many magazines and additional shells can be carried at once.
The assault rifle was a normal 5.56mm assault rifle, while the recoilless rifle used a 45mm shell.
- Some Swedish gunsmiths rejected the idea of this sort of combined weapons platform.