Army seeks proposals for Marines’ new shoulder-fired rocket system

A test facility professional prepares to fire an M72 LAW Fire from Enclosure test round at an undisclosed test range in 2019. Photo by Matt Gonzales/U.S Marine Corps

The Army is looking to procure a shoulder-fired rocket system on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps, the Corps announced on Tuesday.

In July, the Army issued a request for proposals for proposals for the M72 Light Assault Weapon Fire from Enclosure munition, according to a Marine Corps press release.

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

It upgrades a version of the legacy M72 LAW system, but adds capabilities the previous system lacked — notably the ability to fire several shots per day from inside a room.

“It is a shoulder-fired rocket that you can fire from inside an enclosure, room or bunker,” said Richard Dooley, a project officer for Maneuver Ammunition and Missile Programs with MCSC’s PM Ammo.

According to the Marines, the ability to fire from an enclosed position — combined with reduced noise and flash — will allow Marines to maintain a covered and concealed position. This, officials say, would reduce enemies’ ability to identify the point of origin.

Warren Clare, the program manager for Ammunition at MCSC, said the weapon will become “a force multiplier.”

“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,” Dooley said. “These advancements enable Marines to engage various targets, such as structures, bunkers and enemy personnel.”

PM Ammo expects to field the M72 FFE in fiscal year 2022, per the Marines’ announcement.

The Norway-based contractor Nammo and its U.S. subsidiary have long produced the M72, which has been in use since the Vietnam War.

In 2018, Nammo said it had developed a new FFE variant that replaced the rocket motor with a propulsion charge similar to those on recoilless rifles or mortar rounds, reducing its back blast and noise.