The Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System is becoming quite popular with conventional ground forces in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials are getting more Operational Needs Statements from commanders asking for these 84mm recoilless rifles, also known as the M3 Carl Gustaf.
The Army fielded 58 M3s and 1,500 rounds of ammunition to units in Afghanistan late last year after commanders complained that their disposable AT4s were ineffective at engaging the enemy at long ranges. The breech-loading M3 can reach out and hit enemy targets up to 1,000 meters away.
The Pentagon continues to be stingy with details of the fielding, but Army officials did say they have received “several” new Operational Needs Statements, requesting more M3s for the Stan. The Army is also conducting an evaluation of the M3, which has been in use by U.S. Special Operations Command since 1991. The service would not say if it is considering formally adopting the M3 system for use as an alternative to the AT4 or the Javelin.
So far, units from the 25th Infantry, 10th Mountain and 82nd Airborne divisions have received M3s. The launcher weighs approximately 22 pounds with each round of ammunition weighing just under 10 pounds. There is an effort to lighten the load of the rifle by five to six pounds, Army officials say. By comparison, the AT4 weighs about 15 pounds and the Javelin’s launcher with missile and reusable command launch unit weigh roughly 50 pounds. Seems like all three weapons have their strong points.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this issue, but if anybody else out there hears anything, please let me know.