RAWS, Too: US Army Orders Carl Gustav M3
In November 2011, the US Army combined with US Special Operations Command to place an $31.5 million order with Saab North America for their Carl-Gustaf M3 man-portable recoilless rifle, which fires 84mm rockets. It’s a good order for Saab, because it breaks new ground with the US Army.
If the ubiquitous Russian RPG family is removed from the picture, Sweden’s Saab Bofors Dynamics has earned a strong niche, with 2 of the most popular shoulder-fired rocket systems in the world. Its 84mm offerings include the Carl Gustaf/Gustav, whose core design dates back to 1946 and whose most recent M3 version dates to 1991. The less-expensive AT-4/M136 is also 84mm, but swaps the rifled metal/carbon fiber launch tube for cheaper reinforced fiberglass, among other changes. Both systems offer a variety of rocket types, but the Carl Gustaf M3’s Area Defence Munition (ADM) flechette rounds are a uniquely useful capability in infantry fights. The US military has used both weapons for some time, but until now, the Carl Gustav M3 Ranger Antitank Weapons System had been fielded exclusively by US Special Operations units, while the M136 Lightweight Multipurpose Weapon was fielded to both US SOCOM and regular US Army units.