US Infantry to receive recoilless rifles

A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team shoulders a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle while his partner optically measures the distance to a target during a certification class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C.  The paratroopers are preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

A paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team shoulders a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle while his partner optically measures the distance to a target during a certification class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The paratroopers are preparing for a deployment to Afghanistan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

U.S. Army infantry platoons will soon have the 84mm Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle as a permanently assigned weapon. Service officials completed conditional materiel release authorization late last year, making the M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System an organic weapon system within each infantry platoon. The service is also working on an effort to achieve Full Material Release of the M3 later this year.

The breech-loading M3, made by Saab North America, can reach out and hit enemy targets up to 1,000 meters away. The M3 offers the units various types of ammunition, ranging from armor penetration and anti-personnel, to ammunition for built-up areas, as well as special features like smoke and illumination.

Two paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team fire a round from a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle during a certification class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C.  Care must be taken to clear the backblast area prior to the weapon’s operation.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Two paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team fire a round from a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle during a certification class Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. Care must be taken to clear the backblast area prior to the weapon’s operation. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

The launcher weighs approximately 22 pounds, with each round of ammunition weighing just under 10 pounds. By comparison, the AT4 weighs about 15 pounds and the Javelin’s launcher with missile and reusable command launch unit weigh roughly 50 pounds.

 

Projectiles from a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle impact old tanks during a weapons certification course for paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C.  The multi-role weapon can be used against armor, fortifications and personnel.  (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Projectiles from a Carl Gustav M3 84mm recoilless rifle impact old tanks during a weapons certification course for paratroopers with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team Dec. 6, 2011, at Fort Bragg, N.C. The multi-role weapon can be used against armor, fortifications and personnel. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod)

Special operations forces such as the 75th Ranger Regiment have been using the 84mm weapon system since the early 1990s. The M3 became an official, program of record in the conventional Army in 2014. The M3 has enjoyed success with units such as the 25th Infantry, 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions in Afghanistan.

The current plan is to equip all brigade combat teams with one M3 launcher per platoon.

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