United States Marine Corps Weapons & Equipment
Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW)
Primary function: Portable anti-armor rocket launcher.
To Carry: 29.9 inches (75.95 centimeters)
Ready-to-Fire: 54 inches (137.16 cm)
To Carry: 16.6 pounds (7.54 kg)
Ready-to-Fire (HEDP): 29.5 pounds (13.39 kg)
Ready-to-Fire (HEAA): 30.5 pounds (13.85 kg)
Bore diameter: 83mm
Maximum effective range:
1 x 2 Meter Target: 250 meters
Tank-Sized Target: 500 meters
Introduction date: 1984
Unit Replacement Cost: $13,000
Mission: To destroy bunkers and other fortifications during assault operations as well as other designated targets with the dual mode rocket and to destroy main battle tanks with the HEAA rocket.
Features: The SMAW is an 83mm man-portable weapon system consisting of the MK153 Mod 0 launcher, the MK 3 Mod 0 encased HEDP rocket, the MK 6 Mod 0 encased HEAA rocket, and the MK217 Mod 0 spotting rifle cartridge. The launcher consists of a fiberglass launch tube, a 9mm spotting rifle, an electro-mechanical firing mechanism, open battle sights, and a mount for the MK42 Mod 0 optical and AN/PVS-4 night sights. The High Explosive, Dual Purpose (HEDP) rocket is effective against bunkers, masonry and concrete walls, and light armor. The High Explosive Anti-Armor (HEAA) rocket is effective against current tanks without additional armor. The 9mm spotting rounds are ballistically matched to the rockets and increase the gunner's first round hit probability. Training is accomplished with the MK7 Mod 0 encased common practice rocket and the MK213 Mod 0 noise cartridge.
The SMAW MK153 Mod 0 launcher is based on the Israeli B-300 and consists of the launch tube, the spotting rifle, the firing mechanism, and mounting brackets. The launch tube is fiberglass/epoxy with a gel coat on the bore. The spotting rifle is a British design and is mounted on the right side of the launch tube. The firing mechanism mechanically fires the spotting rifle and uses a magneto to fire the rocket. The mounting brackets connect the components and provide the means for boresighting the weapon. The encased rockets are loaded at the rear of the launcher. The spotting cartridges are stored in a magazine in the cap of the encased rocket.
Background: The SMAW system (launcher, ammunition and logistics support) was fielded in 1984 as a Marine Corps unique system. At that time, the SMAW included the MK153 Mod 0 launcher, the MK3 Mod 0 HEDP encased rocket, the MK4 Mod 0 practice rocket and the MK217 Mod 0 9mm spotting cartridge. The MK6 Mod 0 encased HEAA rocket is being added to the inventory. The MOD 0 has demonstrated several shortcomings. A series of modifications is currently planned to address the deficiencies. They include a resleeving process for bubbled launch tubes, rewriting/drafting operator and technical manuals, a kit that will reduce environmental intrusion into the trigger mechanism, and an optical sight modification to allow the new HEAA rocket to be used effectively against moving armor targets. Recently fielded were new boresight bracket kits that, when installed, will solve the loss of boresight problem between launch tube and spotting rifle. During Desert Storm, 150 launchers and 5,000 rockets were provided to the U.S. Army. Since then, the Army has shown increased interest in the system.
Information and Photos Courtesy of United States Marine Corps