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U.S. Army To Procure The Improved M3E1 84mm Recoilless Weapon

Carl Gustaf M3E1 MAAWS

Something that we always wanted to use in airsoft are the replicas of recoilless rifles to “blast” the enemy hiding behind fortifications and against armored vehicles. I know that in airsoft they really don’t work that way (Berget Events uses sensors to “disable” vehicles), but it sure gives an idea how recoilless can be used to simulate their real world capabilities in airsoft.

Now for some latest real world information as the U.S. Army has approved to purchase 1,111 of the M3E1 MAAWS recoilless rifles from Saab Dynamics which the company revealed as the M4 in 2014. Posted at the the FBO website, they intend to have them released to the field immediately:

The U.S. Army Contracting Command-New Jersey, on behalf of PM Soldier Weapons, intends to solicit, negotiate, and award a sole source contract to Saab Dynamics pursuant to the authority of 10 U.S.C. 2304(c)(1) Only One Responsible Source and No Other Supplies or Services Will Satisfy Agency Requirements. This contemplated sole source contract will include the procurement of Lightweight 84mm Carl Gustaf rifles in support of the M3E1 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS) program. The contemplated effort will be a Firm Fixed Priced (FFP) contract.

The Carl Gustaf rifle is a shoulder-mounted recoilless rifle that fires a family of 84mm anti-personnel, anti-tank, anti-structure, smoke, and illumination rounds. The Lightweight Carl Gustaf rifle is a variant of the Carl Gustaf rifle, to be procured in support of the M3E1 MAAWS program. The Lightweight Carl Gustaf weapon is 28% lighter than the Carl Gustaf rifle previously procured for the M3 MAAWS program. It also features improved ergonomics and an electronic round counter to reduce lifecycle cost.

Developed for the Special Operations Forces, the Carl Gustaf is a force multiplier. While it is primarily a lightweight and portable anti-armor weapon, it can also be used against fortifications and enemies that sometimes cannot be reached with light weapons with its airburst capability and high explosive use having ranges of over 1,000 meters.

While USSSOCOM operators use the Carl Gustaf for years, the U.S. Army soldiers have been using the AT4, a one shot disposable recoilless weapon. With the M3E1 MAAWS, they now can have a recoilless weapon that they can use different ammo and will prove to be cheaper in the longer term.

The updated M3E1 uses titanium, which slashes the weight by six pounds from the M3. It also has a better carrying handle as well as more comfortable to use. Both the M3 and M3E1 still use the same ammunition.


Photos used here are from Wikimedia and were taken by the U.S. Army.