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Marine Corps Follows Army in Plan to Buy Carl Gustaf Recoilless Rifle

U.S. Marines reload the Carl Gustav rocket system during live fire training at Range 7 aboard Camp Hansen, Oct. 25, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Aaron S. Patterson)
U.S. Marines reload the Carl Gustav rocket system during live fire training at Range 7 aboard Camp Hansen, Oct. 25, 2017. (U.S. Marine Corps photo/Aaron S. Patterson)

The Marine Corps is finally buying into the increased firepower of the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, a devastating weapon Army units have been using since late 2011.

Military.com’s Hope Hodge Seck ran a story about how the Corps is planning on equipping every infantry squad with the latest version of the 84mm shoulder-launched weapon made by SAAB Bofors Dynamics.

Marine officials are planning to collaborate with the Army to purchase the M3E1 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapons System, or MAAWS, Chris Woodburn, deputy for the Marine Corps' Maneuver Branch, told Military.com.

Further out, officials are weighing the possibility of swapping out the Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon, or SMAW, in combat engineer squads to give troops more options for busting enemy bunkers.

Army units such as the 10th Mountain, 25th Infantry and 82nd Airborne divisions in Afghanistan first began receiving the earlier M3 version of the Carl Gustaf by using Operational Needs Statements. Special Operations Command units had been using the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle since 1991.

The M3E1 launcher weighs approximately 22 pounds, with each round of ammunition weighing just under 10 pounds for a total of 32 pounds. The SMAW weighs 29.5 pounds loaded.

The AT4 weighs about 15 pounds and the Javelin’s launcher with missile and reusable command launch unit weigh roughly 50 pounds.

The M3A1 MAAWS can fire an array of different rounds, including a high-explosive dual-purpose round; a high-explosive anti-tank round; a high-explosive round; and illumination and smoke rounds, apart from its training rounds.

Nammo Talley, the SMAW's manufacturer, maintains it has the advantage for bunker defeat. The Corps may conduct a side-by-side evaluation of the two weapon systems.

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