US Marine Corps receives explosive rocket launcher

July 2, 2021 (Last Updated July 2nd, 2021 12:08)

Marine Corps Systems Command began fielding the recoilless rocket system MAAWS in May.

US Marine Corps receives explosive rocket launcher
An instructor for the Advanced Infantry Course at the School of Infantry-East, tests the M3E1 MAAWS to engage targets during a live-fire training on Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Credit: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Emma Gray.

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.