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Carl-Gustaf grenade launchers for USMC

On the 2nd of August, US Marine Corps System Command (US MCSC) announced that each 13 soldiers section will receive the Swedish 84-mm recoilless Carl-Gustaf grenade launchers, together with previously tested Norwegian M72 66-mm grenade launchers in its newest version.

USSOCOCM and US Army Rangers are already equipped with the 84-mm Carl-Gustaf recoilless grenade launchers /Photo: US Army

Barbara Hamby, MCSC press officer informed that plans envision purchase of 1073 of the grenade launchers. The programme will be financed in 2019 and has an allocated budget of USD 13,7 million (EUR 11,7 million). The contract will be signed around March or June next year. The 84-mm Carl-Gustaf M4 (CGM4) grenade launchers will be introduced into each 13-soldiers section of USMC.New armament will reach the marines when the trials of 11-, 12- and 14-person sections containing the UAV and electronic warfare specialists will be conducted.

Besides the CGM4, US Marine Corps also plans to introduce the 66-mm single use M72 FFE grenade launchers. These weapons are suitable for use in closed spaces and were developed by Nammo. The weapon was tested by Kilo 3 company from March to June. during the Urban-ANTX 2018 maneuvers in Camp Pendelton, California.The night fire tests concluded that thermal trace of M72 FFE is lower than a 9-mm pistol. The trials are to end by the beginning of 2019 when the new weapons introduction will commence.

Carl-Gustaf in US Armed Forces
Swedish, 84-mm recoilless Carl-Gustaf M3 (CGM3) grenade launcher started its career in the USA from special forces. In 1987, US Army 75th Ranger Regiment was searching for a weapon fulfilling the requirement of RAAWS (Ranger Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System) program to replace the well-used 90-mm recoilless M67 cannon introduced in 1960`s.Soldiers tested 10 CGM3 `s loaned from Sweden. Tests took a year and in 1989 a decision was made to purchase the M3 RAAWS. First weapons reached the units by the end of 1990. Soon, US Navy Seals became interested in the Swedish grenade launcher and the weapon`s designation was changed to M3 MAAWS (Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System).

Until 2011 CGM3 were used only by special forces but by the end of 2011 an order was placed by US Army for regular units. The first batch of 58 of M3 MAAWS and 1500 HE and delayed HE rounds was delivered to the 3rd and 25th Infantry Division and 10th Mountain Division in January 2012.

The main reason for the introduction of Swedish recoilless grenade launchers was an increased range (point targets effective range is 700 m, area targets range is up to 1000m), compared to M136 AT single use launchers (practical range of 300m). This had a significant impact in Afghanistan when assaulting fortified positions. The multi-use weapon also used a wider variety of ammunition.

In January 2017, US Army confirmed the purchase of 1111 M3E1 MAAWS grenade launchers (modified Carl-Gustaf M4). USMC wants to use the existing contract. Swedish weapon was tested by the USMC during the Sea Dragon 2025 exercise. Grenade launchers were also loaned to the MARSOC`s Marine Raiders unit during their operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carl-Gustaf M4 will be introduced as a replacement for 83,5-mm Mk 153 SMAW anti-armor grenade launcher. In November 2017 introduction of modified Mk 153, SMAW Mod 2 commenced into 2nd USMC Expeditionary Force. In January 2018 weapon was delivered to the 1st USMC division on the West Coast.Mod 2 is equipped with the MBS fire control system which replaces the 9x51 mm rifle system used in Mod 0 for initial targeting. MBS has an integrated laser rangefinder and a thermal scope which increases the accuracy. Until 2020 1249 of the Mk 153 grenade launchers will be delivered.

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