Carl Gustaf’ weapon extends Soldiers’ lethal reach

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. — With the need for Sol­diers in Afghanistan to engage the ene­my at longer dis­tances, Picatin­ny Arse­nal has com­plet­ed an ini­tial train­ing and field­ing of a weapon for tra­di­tion­al Army units pre­vi­ous­ly used only by spe­cial oper­a­tions com­mands.

 -
M3 Carl Gus­tav test­ing
A civil­ian instruc­tor coach­es two para­troop­ers with the 82nd Air­borne Division’s 1st Brigade Com­bat Team on how to use a Carl Gus­tav 84mm recoil­less rifle dur­ing a cer­ti­fi­ca­tion class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Click to enlarge
 -
M3 — The Carl Gustaf get its name from the Swedish weapons pro­duc­tion fac­to­ry known as Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärs­fak­tori (“Rifle Fac­to­ry of Carl Gustaf’s town”). The name Carl Gustaf’s town was a name used inter­mit­tent­ly for the town Eskil­stu­na after King Karl X Gus­tav gave the town city priv­i­leges. The weapon was first intro­duced into Swedish ser­vice in 1948.
U.S. Army pho­to
Click to enlarge

The Mul­ti-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Per­son­nel Weapon Sys­tem, or MAAWS, also known as the M3 Carl Gustaf, has been in the Unit­ed States Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand inven­to­ry since 1991.

How­ev­er, the unique capa­bil­i­ties of both the sys­tem and its ammo led to a for­ward oper­a­tional assess­ment, known as a FOA.

The MAAWS has sim­i­lar­i­ties to the AT4 shoul­der-fired, anti-tank sys­tem. But the MAAWS is unique in that the sys­tem itself is not dis­pos­able, which means it can be used more than once.

“It oper­ates just like a rifle,” said Bhu­vanesh Thogu­lu­va, chief of the Vehi­cle Pro­tec­tion, Rock­ets & Shoul­der Fired Weapons Branch of the Muni­tions Sys­tems and Tech­ni­cal Direc­torate. The direc­torate is part of the Arma­ment Research, Devel­op­ment and Engi­neer­ing Cen­ter at Picatin­ny.

“After fir­ing, the assis­tant gun­ner reloads it, and it can be fired again,” Thogu­lu­va explained. On a dis­pos­able weapon you will find a max­i­mum effec­tive range of approx­i­mate­ly 300 meters, where­as with the Gustaf you are talk­ing about pos­si­bly up to 1,700 meters. That’s a huge dif­fer­ence.”

An oper­a­tional need for the MAAWS sys­tem occurred in May, when troops report­ed that they were hav­ing a dif­fi­cult time in reach­ing the ene­my at those dis­tances.

The pur­pose of the MAAWS is to engage light­ly armored tar­gets at ranges up to 700 meters and soft tar­gets at up to 1,000 meters.

Pre­vi­ous­ly used only by spe­cial oper­a­tions com­mands, begin­ning with the Army Rangers in 1989, the Navy SEALS in 1997, and lat­er the rest of the U.S. Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Forces, the need for the sys­tem has become more appar­ent among tra­di­tion­al Army units.

“This field­ing real­ly could not have been done with­out the help from SOCOM (Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand),” Thogu­lu­va said.

The Unit­ed States Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Com­mand allowed the trans­fer of these sys­tems and its ammo to the Army for this field­ing.

The quan­ti­ties for this ini­tial field­ing were 58 Carl Gustaf Rifles and 1,500 Rounds of High Explo­sive and High Explo­sive Dual Pur­pose Ammu­ni­tion. Also, 114 Sol­diers and 21 armor­er main­tain­ers were trained in its use.

Although, there are eight vari­eties of com­bat rounds and two train­ing rounds for the sys­tem, the High Explo­sive and High Explo­sive Dual Pur­pose Rounds are the only two includ­ed in the assess­ment.

The oth­er rounds can pro­vide users with heat, illu­mi­na­tion, anti-struc­ture, mul­ti-tar­get and smoke capa­bil­i­ties. As the need for addi­tion­al capa­bil­i­ties increas­es with the Army users, oth­er rounds could be field­ed to the Army troops in the future.

The gun is breech-loaded and can be fired from the stand­ing, kneel­ing, sit­ting or prone posi­tions. A built-in detach­able bi-pod helps the shoot­er raise the weapon off the ground while shoot­ing from the prone posi­tion.

The pro­pel­lant gas escapes through the rear of the weapon, which equal­izes the force of recoil. In the AT4-CS type sys­tem, a salt-water solu­tion is eject­ed rather than exhaust, which is one rea­son why the AT4-CS does not have the range of the MAAWS.

“Remark­ably, there is actu­al­ly more recoil from fir­ing a 7.62mm round than this 84mm round,” Thogu­lu­va said.

“It’s a bal­anc­ing act,” he added. “When shoot­ing a 7.62 there is no exhaust gas, so the shooter’s shoul­der takes the major­i­ty of the recoil.” This bal­anc­ing act puts less stress on the shoot­er.

The cur­rent MAAWS sys­tem weighs approx­i­mate­ly 22 pounds with each round of ammu­ni­tion weigh­ing less than 10 pounds. Mate­r­i­al devel­op­ers are work­ing to light­en the load of the rifle by five to six pounds.

The user can usu­al­ly load and fire four rounds with­in one minute.

The blast radius stem­ming from a High Explo­sive round is any­where from 50 to 75 meters. The user sets the fir­ing dis­tance on the MAAWS by sim­ply rotat­ing a labeled meter at the top of the round.

The High Explo­sive Dual Pur­pose round can det­o­nate in two ways: upon impact of the intend­ed tar­get, or in a delay mode where it will pen­e­trate a tar­get, then det­o­nate at a pre-deter­mined time.

Since field­ing the sys­tem, feed­back from the field has been very pos­i­tive.

“It’s safe to say it’s doing its job. I can’t real­ly tell you much more than that,” Thogu­lu­va said.

The cur­rent field­ing is being used by Sol­diers in the 3rd and 25th Infantry Divi­sions, as well as the 10th Moun­tain Divi­sion. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the Army Test and Eval­u­a­tion Cen­ter FOA Team con­duct­ed assess­ments of the train­ing event. The FOA will assess ini­tial com­bat usage after 30 days.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Sol­diers with the 82nd Air­borne Divi­sion are train­ing on the sys­tem at Fort Bragg, N.C.

The Carl Gustaf get its name from the Swedish weapons pro­duc­tion fac­to­ry known as Carl Gustafs Stads Gevärs­fak­tori (“Rifle Fac­to­ry of Carl Gustaf’s town”). The name Carl Gustaf’s town was a name used inter­mit­tent­ly for the town Eskil­stu­na after King Karl X Gus­tav gave the town city priv­i­leges. The weapon was first intro­duced into Swedish ser­vice in 1948.

Source:
U.S. Army

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →