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Army expands use of recoilless rifle

Jan. 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM   |   Comments

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J., Jan. 27 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army has fielded Saab's Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle with traditional units in Afghanistan instead of with just Special Forces units.

It said the decision was based on the need of regular infantry to engage enemy forces at longer distances and the weapon's dual anti-personnel and anti-armor utility.

Initial training and fielding of the system to traditional units has been completed, it said.

"It operates just like a rifle," said Bhuvanesh Thoguluva, chief of the Army's Vehicle Protection, Rockets and Shoulder Fired Weapons Branch of the Munitions Systems and Technical Directorate.

"After firing, the assistant gunner reloads it, and it can be fired again," Thoguluva said. "On a disposable weapon you will find a maximum effective range of approximately 300 meters, whereas with the Gustaf you are talking about possibly up to 1,700 meters. That's a huge difference."

The 84mm M3 Carl Gustaf multi-role, anti-armor, anti-personnel system has been used by U.S. Special Operations Forces since 1991. It is similar to the AT4 shoulder-fired anti-tank system but is reusable after firing. The weapon weighs 22 pounds. Its rounds, which come in a number of variants, weigh 10 pounds.

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