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.

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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.