US Soldiers Shooting The Powerful M3 Carl Gustav Recoilless Rifle - Carl Gustaf M3 MAAWS

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US soldier shooting the Carl Gustav during live firing training. The M3 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-tank Weapon System (MAAWS) is the U.S. military designation for the Carl Gustaf M3 recoilless rifle. It is primarily used by USSOCOM special operations forces (SOFs), such as the Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, Marine Raiders, Navy SEALs, JSOC operators, and other forces. When used by the U.S. Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, the M3 is known as the Ranger Anti-tank Weapons System (RAWS).

In the late 1980s, the Special Operations Forces Modernization Action Plan indicated need for a Ranger Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (RAAWS) to replace the M67 recoilless rifle in use by the 75th Ranger Regiment. A market survey in 1987 indicated that the Carl Gustaf M3 was the best candidate for satisfying RAAWS requirements. On 29 September 1988, the M3 was selected as the RAAWS from candidate proposals submitted in response to the market survey compiled by ARDEC. A subsequent review of the contractor-supplied fatigue test data determined that the data did not meet U.S. Army requirements. Benét Laboratories conducted fatigue test of 2 tubes to establish an interim safe service life for the weapon. Tests were conducted in 1993. The manufacturer’s recommended life for the weapon was 500 rounds, but bore surfaces showed no indications of erosion until 2,360 rounds. The U.S. Navy SEALs became interested in the program and moved it to a Joint Integrated Product Team. The program name subsequently changed from the RAAWS to the Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS).

Army Rangers found the M3 Carl Gustaf was best employed using a two-man team. One person would carry the launcher and be armed with a pistol for personal protection, and the other would carry 5–6 rounds of ammunition and act as a spotter for the gunner. Although the single-shot AT-4 is lighter and can be carried by one person, a Gustaf team with the heavier recoilless rifle can reload and fire more rounds.

The M3 MAAWS fires the following ammunition:

High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) round
High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) round
High Explosive (HE) round
Illumination round
Smoke round
Area Defence Munition (ADM) flechette round

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