US Marine Corps (USMC) has announced that it has received a new, explosive rocket launcher that provides additional protection in urban environments.
In May, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) began fielding the M3A1 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapons System (MAAWS) to infantry Marines in Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The MAAWS is a reloadable, recoilless rocket system designed to supplement existing shoulder-launched rocket capabilities.
MAAWS MCSC project officer captain Christopher Adsit said: “The MAAWS is a reusable, long-range weapon that provides the capability to destroy armoured vehicles, structures and fortifications, which will be useful for infantry marines.”
MAAWS system comprises M3A1 Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, which is a fire-control system, and a backup reflex sight that marines can use if the primary optic fails to function.
It includes munitions that provide obscuration, anti-personnel, armour penetration, bunker, and hardened-facility penetration, illumination, as well as other destruction capabilities.
MCSC infantry weapons officer chief warrant officer 4 David Tomlinson said: “It has the ability to fire (illumination), smoke, and airburst-style rounds.
“The capability will allow the warfighter to engage the enemy in defilade, reinforced bunkers and buildings.”
USMC noted that the MAAWS system is augmenting the Mk153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon (SMAW).
Mk153 is a rocket system initially fielded to USMC in 1984 before it underwent many modifications in the 2000s.
The USMC has used the SMAW to destroy armoured vehicles, bunkers, and other fortifications.