Sept. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army announced on Wednesday that it is rapidly procuring more than 1,000 shoulder-fired 84mm recoilless rifles from Saab for deployment as soon as possible.
The weapon is the Carl-Gustaf M4, known as the M3E1 in the United States.
Through the use of titanium, the Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System, or MAAWS, is more than six pounds lighter than its earlier iteration, 2.5 inches shorter and has an improved carrying handle, extra shoulder padding and an improved sighting system.
The Army is ordering 1,111 M3E1 units from Saab.
"The current system that the Army uses is the AT4, which only allows Soldiers to fire one shot, and then they have to throw the system away," Randy Everett, the Army's Foreign Comparative Testing project manager, said in a press release. "With the M3E1, soldiers can use different types of ammunition which gives them an increased capability on the battlefield."
The Army's FCT program office, which is within U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, receives oversight from the Office of the Secretary of Defense's Comparative Technology Office. The program provides a way for the Army to test and evaluate items and technologies from allies and other friendly countries.
In 1988, U.S. Special Forces identified a need for a shoulder-fired, recoilless rifle to replace the M67, and Saab Dynamics developed the M3, which was delivered to U.S. Rangers and U.S. Navy Seals in 1994.
The M3E1 features a wiring harness that provides a foregrip controller and a programmable fuze setter for an interchangeable fire control system. It also has an automatic round counter for tracking the weapon's service life.
The Army said the M3E1 system was tested at IMT Materialteknik AB in Sweden by the U.S. Army Test & Evaluation Command, saving the Army money.
"Our original investment of $3 million has led to an approximate $40 million procurement for the Army, which is a great return on investment," Everett said. "But, most importantly, the M3E1 can be reused so it gives soldiers increased flexibility and capability on the battlefield."