The NTW-20 is a South African anti-materiel rifle, developed by Denel Mechem in the 1990s. It is intended for deployment against targets including parked aircraft, telecommunication masts, power lines, missile sites, radar installations, refineries, satellite dishes, gun emplacements, bunkers and personnel, using a range of specialised projectiles. As with other weapons of this type, it can also be used for counter sniping and ordnance disposal (shooting explosive ordnance from a safe distance).
A Denel NTW-20 on display
|Place of origin||South Africa|
|Manufacturer||Denel Land Systems|
|Variants||NTW 20, NTW 14.5, NTW 20×110mm|
|Mass||31 kg (NTW 20),|
34 kg (NTW 14.5)
|Length||1,795 mm (NTW 20),|
2,015 mm (NTW 14.5)
|Barrel length||1,000 mm (NTW 20),|
1,220 mm (NTW 14.5)
|Crew||Two; rifle breaks down into two parts for transport and fits into two backpacks weighing 15kg each, one containing the weapon receiver section, while the other contains the barrel and ammunition|
|Cartridge||20×82mm (NTW 20)|
20×110mm Hispano (NTW 20×110mm)
14.5×114mm (NTW 14.5)
|Action||Bolt action, recoiling barrel|
|Muzzle velocity||720 m/s (20×82mm)|
820 m/s (20×110mm)
1,000 m/s (14.5×114mm)
|Effective firing range||1,500m (20×82mm)|
|Feed system||3-round detachable box magazine (20×82mm and 14.5×114mm)|
Single shot (20×110mm)
|Sights||8 × 56 Lynx Telescopic sight|
The weapon was designed by Tony Neophytou (co-designer of the Neostead combat shotgun). Development of the system began in August 1995 under the "Aerotek" name and a working prototype was ready for testing four and a half months later. This rapid progress was made possible by Neophytou's expertise in the field of recoil reduction systems, having worked on helicopter turrets in the past. To further reduce the amount of research and development, the project recycled the barrel, bolt and barrel extension of the existing Vektor GA1 automatic cannon. It was put into production by Denel Land Systems in two versions; 20 x 110 and 20 x 82. The latter model is also available in 14.5 x 114 and conversion between the calibres can be done in the field by swapping the barrel and bolt assembly. The significantly larger 20 x 110 model cannot be converted to another calibre. The rifle was accepted into service with the South African National Defence Force in 1998.. It is also more limited in that it is a single shot-only rifle, rather than feeding rounds from a magazine.
Switching between the two calibres of the NTW (20×82mm and 14.5×114mm) requires changing the bolt, barrel, sighting gear and magazine. (A third variant, the NTW 20×110mm has been developed, but is not designed for barrel calibre switching.) Caliber switching the NTW 20/14.5 can be accomplished in the field without specialised tools. The magazine protrudes from the left side of the receiver. The NTW can be disassembled and packed into two backpacks for carriage. A muzzle brake is fitted on the end of the barrel which absorbs an estimated 50%–60% of recoil. This is further supplemented by a buffered slide in the receiver.
|Weight (empty)||30.0 kg (66.1 lb)||34.0 kg (75.0 lb)||32.0 kg (70.5 lb)|
|Overall length||1,800 mm (71 in)||2,016 mm (79.4 in)||1,800 mm (71 in)|
|Rifling (1 full turn)||560 mm (22 in)||408 mm (16.1 in)|
|Length of barrel||1,000 mm (39 in)||1,220 mm (48 in)||1,000 mm (39 in)|
|Muzzle velocity||720 m/s (2,400 ft/s)||1,000 m/s (3,300 ft/s)||820 m/s (2,700 ft/s)|
|Muzzle energy||28,000 J||32,000 J||~40,000 J|
|Effective range||> 1,600 m (1,700 yd)||> 2,400 m (2,600 yd)||> 1,800 m (2,000 yd)|
Denel Land Systems was contracted to supply weapon systems for the Indian Armed Forces, including anti-materiel rifles and self-propelled howitzers. However, following allegations that it had paid kickbacks to secure a deal for anti-materiel rifles, Denel was black-listed by the government. Subsequently, the Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli (OFT), in association with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), began developing an indigenous anti-material rifle called Vidhwansak, which borrowed heavily from the Denel NTW-20. The development of Vidhwansak was completed in November 2005. The embargo against Denel was lifted in 2018 after investigations found the allegations to have been false.
In popular culture
- The designers of The Sniper Rifle System 99 Anti-Matériel, (formally known as the Special Applications Rifle), from the Halo video game franchise, used the Denel NTW-20 as inspiration.
- Kokalis, Peter: Weapons Tests And Evaluations: The Best Of Soldier Of Fortune, page 223. Paladin Press, 2001.
- Kokalis, 224
- "Infantry Weapons – NTW 20 X 110". Denel Land Systems. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Infantry Weapons – NTW 20 X 82". Denel Land Systems. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- "Denel NTW-20 – Anti-Materiel Rifle – History, Specs and Pictures – Military, Security and Civilian Guns and Equipment". Militaryfactory.com. 20 August 2012. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
- Girja Shankar Kaura (5 February 2006). "Ordnance factories bag order for 30,000 carbines". The Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2009.
- Martin, Guy (10 September 2018). "Denel finally removed from Indian blacklist | defenceWeb". www.defenceweb.co.za. Retrieved 19 November 2018.
- "The Weapons of District 9 -". The Firearm Blog. 27 August 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2018.
- District 9 (2009), retrieved 25 November 2018
- Kokalis, Peter (2001). Weapons Tests And Evaluations: The Best Of Soldier Of Fortune. Boulder, CO: Paladin Press. ISBN 978-1-58160-122-0.