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A History of the M72 LAW and Current Improvement Programs Nicholas Duke 39 th Annual Gun & Ammunition/Missiles and Rockets Conference April 13-16, 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "A History of the M72 LAW and Current Improvement Programs Nicholas Duke 39 th Annual Gun & Ammunition/Missiles and Rockets Conference April 13-16, 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 A History of the M72 LAW and Current Improvement Programs Nicholas Duke 39 th Annual Gun & Ammunition/Missiles and Rockets Conference April 13-16, 2004

2 Thoughts on M72 Why is M72 so widely deployed? How has M72 maintained relevance for 40 years? Who can learn from the M72 technology strategy? What is the future vision for M72? 1

3 What is the LAW? Firepower for the individual warfighter –Light close-combat lethality for mobile Soldiers –Disposable rugged round of ammunition –Minimal training needed to effectively employ –Highly proliferable and low cost This concept has adapted to world changes –New threats have been addressed –Modern tactics have been embraced –Emerging technologies have been exploited –Light weight, compact size have been maintained 2

4 What is the LAW? 3 Improved M72A4, A5, A6/A7 (Current Production) Next Generation M72E9-DP (Under Development in Norway) Next Generation M72E10-AP (Under Development in US)

5 Who has fielded the LAW? US Army Fielded in Afghanistan and Iraq SOF 4 Norway USMC More than 20 other allied nations

6 Why such wide deployment? M72 is not specialized for a single mission –Useful in a wide variety of combat scenarios Enough armor penetration to defeat most threat AFVs Enough explosive to be effective versus material targets Enough range to provide effective standoff –Mobile enough to carry for contingencies Carry weight and length don’t preclude other equipment Multiple rounds can be carried by a single gunner Ease of use allows for quick reaction M72 program is multi-national Partnership between US and Norway Talley, NAMMO, & NI cooperate to consider many potential user viewpoints 5

7 Mobility is Critical Carry weight is the major determinant –Soldiers are overloaded –Specialized equipment exists for every task –A multi-function contingency weapon must be light 6 M72/A26 lb26 in M72A3/A78 lb30.5 in M72E89.5 lb30.5 in M72E9/E108/9 lb30.5 in AT415 lb39.3 in AT4CS17 lb41 in SMAW-D16 lb32 in Bunkerfaust28 lb48 in RGW6013 lb34.6 in

8 How has it stayed relevant? M72 has a responsive technology strategy –Internal user demands (concerns, tactics changes) Generate M72 specific technology development –External technology maturation (advancements) Generates opportunities for M72 specific improvements –Internal acquisition reforms (requirements) Require integration of non M72 specific technologies –Changes in external combat environment (threats) Suggest integration of unforeseen capabilities and adaptation to new missions 7

9 Internal Environment Suggest External Environment Integrative Mechanics Generative Mechanics M72 Weapon System Internal Environment Technology Determinants Survivability Concerns Modern Tactics Advanced Warheads Composite Materials Emerging Threats Asymmetric Warfare Insensitive Munitions Night Vision Devices Fuze Safety 8

10 Evolutionary Overview mm RHA IM 350mm RHA 300mm RHA 150mm RHA The Improved LAW: Longer range and easier to operate M72A4 M72A5 M72A6 M72A7 9 The Next-Generation LAW: More lethal and survivable 150mm RHA IM 450mm RHA IM Anti-Personnel IMUS unfunded requirement M72E8 M72E9 M72E10 Norway funded program US funded program The Original LAW: Light, rugged, cost- effective Reliability Upgrades M72A1 M72 M72A2 M72A3 Safety Upgrades US/Norwegian Consortium

11 Technology Evolutions M72 to M72A1 & A2 –Reliability upgrades developed to address User needs, improve manufacturing processes M72A2 to M72A3 –Safety upgrades integrated to respond to acquisition changes, production shift to Norway M72A3 to M72A4, A5, A6 –Gunner interfaces, lethality, and range upgraded for changing User needs –A6 warhead integrated for new SOF mission M72A6 to A7 –IM sensitivity upgrades integrated to address regulatory changes and increase safety 10

12 Who can learn from M72? Many DoD programs can learn something –Modern pace of technology and threat changes, coupled with tight budgets, demand it Lessons learned are: –Evolutionary path ensures program longevity Flexibility critical to meet needs, even change missions –Map and track the programs technology drivers Identify emerging needs & develop matching technology Anticipate emerging threats and integrate counters –International partnerships foster improvement Alternative viewpoints considered Larger User base ensures unbroken series of steps 11

13 Future Vision For the M72 –Fire From Enclosure (FFE) propulsion (M72E8) Technology generated so M72 can rule MOUT combat –Deep Penetrator (DP) warhead (M72E9) Technology integrated to improve M72 vs threat armor –Anti-Personnel (AP) warhead (M72E10) Technology generated to evolve M72 to a new mission –On-axis trigger firing mechanism (All) Technology generated in response to User request –Dual-safe fuze (All) Technology integrated to improve safety for soldiers and in storage and transportation 12

14 Adds Fire From Enclosure (FFE) propulsion –Low noise, low signature, greater range –Maintains A7 multipurpose target lethality –Improves launcher human factors –Incorporates dual-safe fuze –Mitigates IM sensitivities Interior wall after 3 firings at 5 meters and 1 firing at 3 meters M72E8-FFE 13

15 M72E8-FFE Firing

16 M72E9-DP Adds Deep Penetrator (DP) warhead –>450mm RHA with enhanced behind armor effects –Incorporates dual-safe fuze –Improves launcher human factors On-Axis TriggerFold Forward Sights NVD/Reflex Integral Sight Rails Out-of-line Primer 14

17 M72E10-AP Adds Anti-Personnel (AP) warhead –Blast/fragmentation warhead –Incorporates dual-mode target discriminating fuze –Improves launcher human factors –Maintains weight < 9.5 lb with rocket motor Anti-Personnel warhead –Detonates on contact with armor and concrete Large breachs and significant spall –Penetrates brick, block, and earth & timber Devastating lethality behind cover 15

18 M72E10 vs Brick Structure 16

19 Summary Benefits of an effective technology strategy –Increased versatility to the warfighter –Reduced cost and schedule for PIPs –Increased program longevity –Builds on existing training infrastructure M72 LAW program provides example –System adapts to new threats and requirements –Improvements underway for all subsystems –Modular design and multiple Users keep cost low –Fielding times < 3 years –40+ year program life to date 17

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