M3 Carl Gustav

M3 Carl Gustav
M3 Carl Gustav. Photo courtesy of SAAB Bofors Dynamics.

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M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS)

The recoilless rifle went into decline in the U.S. military as anti-tank missiles were developed and fielded from the 1960s onward. Although the recoilless rifles were excellent, combat proven weapons they were considered obsolete. But with the rise of interest in MOUT and increasing importance of Special Operations forces, a new generation recoilless weapon has found a role in the U.S. military.

The M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS) known internationally as the "Carl Gustav", is a recoilless rifle fielded with U.S. Army Special Operations Command since 1990 and in use or under consideration by other units such as U.S. Navy Naval Special Warfare Command SEALS. It is a standard weapon in Sweden, where it was developed, and is in use by over a dozen other nations. The shoulder-fired, air jumpable, and swimmable M3 replaced the M67 Recoilless Rifle.

Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS): M3 Carl Gustaf Rifle and family of 84mm ammunition
Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS): M3 Carl Gustaf Rifle and family of 84mm ammunition.

The Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS) consists of the M3 Carl Gustaf Rifle and a family of 84mm ammunition consisting of a High Explosive Anti Tank (HEAT), High Explosive (HE), High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP), Smoke, Illumination, Target Practice (TP) and Sub-Caliber Adapter training system.

The M3 Rifle weighs approximately 25 pounds and is 42 inches in length. The ammunition weighs between 7 to 10 pounds. The effective range varies from 200 to 1300 meters, depending on ammunition used. The M3 rifle and the ammunition are manufactured by SAAB Bofors Dynamics of Karlsoga, Sweden.

The M3 is crew served by a team of two, a gunner who aims and fires, and a loader who carrys ammunition and also provides cover fire. In addition to its primary anti-armor mission, it can attack urban and field fortifications, personnel, or soft skinned vehicles. Smoke and illumination rounds can mark targets, obscure the battlefield, or provide light.

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