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US Marines is looking to field new generation of light anti-armor weapon M72 FFE

According to information published on the U.S Marines website on August 4, 2020, the United States Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) is looking to field a next-generation, shoulder-fired anti-tank rocket system M72 that will increase lethality and safety for U.S. Marines.
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New M72 LAW FFE Fire from Enclosure antitank weapon. (Picture source My New Desk website)

With guidance from MCSC’s (Marine Corps Systems Command) Program Manager for Ammunition, the Army in July released a Request for Proposals for the M72 Light Assault Weapon (LAW) Fire from Enclosure (FFE) munition. The Army is procuring the system on behalf of MCSC, fulfilling a requirement for the Corps.

The United States developed the M72 Light Antiarmour Weapon (LAW) in the 1960s as a single-shot, disposable rocket launcher. The weapon consists of two telescoped tubes that, when extended, automatically prepare the weapon for firing (safety release, cocking of the firing mechanism, and deployment of pop-up sights). Although the weapon bears superficial resemblance to many tubular rocket launchers, its compact size, squared firing mechanism, and sight housings make it relatively easy to identify.

The M72 LAW’s warhead has excellent penetration ability and lethal after-armor effects. The extremely destructive, shaped-charge explosive penetrates more than 12 inches of armor. It has a maximum effective range of 200 meters.

The M72 LAW FFE is a compact, lightweight, single-shot weapon system. It incorporates an improved launcher, featuring an enhanced in-line trigger mechanism and improved sling design.

Managed by PM Ammo, the FFE technology is an upgraded version of the legacy M72 LAW system. The newer system enables Marines to fire several shots per day from inside a room—a capability the legacy system lacked. When firing at night, the flash from the M72 FFE’s muzzle and backblast is less than that of an M9 pistol.

The ability to fire from an enclosed position combined with reduced noise and flash allows Marines to maintain a covered and concealed position, reducing the enemies’ ability to identify the point of origin.

The M72 FFE comprises two configurations: the M72A8 anti-armor and the M72A10 multi-purpose, anti-structure munition. The anti-armor warhead improves armor penetration while the multi-purpose warhead gives Marines the added capability of an anti-structure round capable of eliminating hardened structures, such as buildings.

The M72A10 incorporates an advanced warhead design with a multipurpose explosive and a self-discriminating fuse that operates in either fast- or delay-mode based on target construction. It can be used to engage various targets, such as structures, bunkers, and enemy personnel.

The FFE’s lightweight allows smaller units to increase the amount of shoulder-fired munitions available during operations. It also provides them with an easy-to-carry, fast-to-employ system designed to defeat multiple targets in all conditions.

The U.S. Marines Program Manage ammo expects to field the new generation of M72 FFE in the fiscal year 2022.

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