Ground Warfare

US Marine Corps Set to Receive New M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure (FFE)

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US Marine Corps Set to Receive New M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure (FFE)

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US Marine Corps Set to Receive New M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure (FFE)
US Marine Corps Set to Receive New M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure (FFE)

The Marine Corps Systems Command announced the acquisition of the M72 Light Assault Weapon Fire from Enclosure Munition. The M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure (FFE) is a compact, lightweight, single-shot weapon system. The M27A FFE variants will replace the current LAW weapon system capability. The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm (2.6 in) unguided anti-tank weapon. American production of the weapon began by Hesse-Eastern in 1963, and was terminated by 1983; currently it is produced by Nammo Raufoss AS in Norway and their subsidiary, Nammo Defense Systems (formerly Nammo Talley Inc.) in Arizona. In early 1963, the M72 LAW was adopted by the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps as their primary individual infantry anti-tank weapon, replacing the M31 HEAT rifle grenade and the M20A1 “super bazooka” in the U.S. Army.

The M72 LAW FFE incorporates an improved launcher featuring an enhanced in-line trigger mechanism and improved sling design. The light anti-tank weapon comprises two configurations: the M72A8 anti-armor and the M72A10 multi-purpose, anti-structure munition. The M72A8 contains a high explosive charge warhead that improves armor penetration, while the M72A10 provides Marines with increased capability for eliminating structures. The M72 FFE is designed to deliver versatility and reliability, enabling Marines to counter threats effectively in close-range combat. Marines already have M72A7 anti-armour and M72A9 Anti-Structure Munition (ASM) weapon systems in their inventory. The new system allows Marines to fire multiple shots daily from inside a room and has less flash and back blast than an M9 pistol.

M72 Fire From Enclosure, A8 and A10
M72 Fire From Enclosure single-use rocket launcher, M72A8 anti-armour and M72A10 anti-structure variant. (Photo by Nammo))

During the Vietnam and post-Vietnam periods, all issued LAWs were recalled after instances of the warhead exploding in flight, sometimes injuring the operator. Although generally thought of as a Vietnam War–era weapon that had been superseded by the more-powerful AT4, the M72 LAW found new popularity in the operations by the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps, and Canadian Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lower cost and lighter weight of the LAW, combined with a scarcity of modern heavy armored targets and the need for an individual assault weapon versus an individual anti-armor weapon, made it ideal for the type of urban combat seen in Iraq and mountain warfare seen in Afghanistan. In addition, a soldier can carry two LAWs on a mission as opposed to a single AT4. In 2018 it was reported that an upgrade for the LAW was being developed that would improve the fire control system as well as largely eliminate the weapon’s back blast, allowing the weapon to be used more safely from within a confined space.

The Marine Corps Systems Command team worked closely with their Army counterparts to procure this new capability. All shoulder-fired rocket ammunition is procured through the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command, the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition. This enables the services to combine orders to realize cost savings by leveraging economic order quantity prices. The M72 FFE rocket underscores the Marine Corps’ ongoing efforts to lighten the warfighter’s load and increase lethality. Its performance is optimized for urban environments, vehicles and complex terrain, ensuring operational effectiveness in these challenging scenarios. PdM Ammo expects to begin fielding the M72A FFE in calendar year 2024. The delay is due to upgrades to Nammo’s facility in Mesa, Arizona, which builds the weapons systems. The company “took time and spent significant investment” to add the ability to manufacture tubes in-house and an automated production line. “Enhanced” safety procedures were also inserted in the production line.

Nammo Defense Systems Inc., headquartered in Mesa, Arizona is a U.S. corporation and part of the Nammo group of companies. Nammo is an international aerospace and defense company headquartered in Norway. Nammo is an international aerospace and defense company headquartered in Norway. With more than 3.100 employees, 27 production sites and a presence in 11 countries, Nammo is today one of the world’s leading providers of specialty ammunition and rocket motors for both military and civilian customers. Nammo was formed in 1998 through a merger of the ammunition businesses in the three Nordic countries, Norway, Sweden and Finland. Today Nammo is owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and the Finnish Aerospace & Defense company Patria Oyj, each owning 50% of the shares in the company.

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