The Wasp 58 is a French low-cost recoilless rocket launcher.
Originally a private designed by Luchaire in the 1980s, Luchaire's sales department had noted the rising costs of light individual anti-armor/assault weapons were to the point that fewer and fewer could be purchased and that there was a need for a one-man anti-armor/assault weapon which could be purchased for a cost slightly higher than that of a rifle grenade, but with the greater accuracy and ease of use of a one-man rocket launcher. With that, the Wasp 58 was designed. The Wasp 58 has been a huge commercial success, with over 450000 being produced due to its low cost and effectiveness.
The Wasp 58 is a direct-fire weapon used to attack lightly armored vehicles at ranges up to 400 meters, as well as against bunkers or as a fire support weapon. The Wasp 58 is a one-man disposable weapon system based on the recoilless principle, where upon the rocket's ignition, the propellant fires the 58mm projectile forward while at the same time ejecting a counter mass of plastic chips from the rear of the weapon to achieve a recoilless effect. Due to their size and weight, the plastic chips lose velocity after about a meter or so. It is a compact package and is simple to operate with a small launch signature, allowing it to be fired from enclosed spaces including from small rooms in buildings, while at the same time, not giving away the user's position from the backblast or muzzle flash. The Wasp 58 is composed of a sealed launch tube manufactured from fiberglass, along with the 58mm missile which is housed in the tube. The Wasp 58 requires no annual maintenance or special storage other than that which would be required for other small arms munitions. The missile has a hit probability of over 90% when fired against stationary targets at ranges of 250 meters (273.4 yards) and under.
The weapon uses a 58mm projectile, based on the projectile launched by the AC58 rifle grenade. It is stabilized by six fins that unfold and lock into place after it leaves the launch tube. The warhead of the Wasp 58 can penetrate 400 millimeters (15.7 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA) or up to 800 millimeters (31.5 inches) of reinforced concrete. In spite of its penetration power, the warhead is very ineffective against modern tanks, but it is still able to penetrate the armor of tanks from the 1980s and before still in widespread service. With its warhead, it is able to engage other types of armored platforms from the front and side.