M72 LAW photo US Army
The US Department of Defence (DoD) is to take delivery of a new batch of M72 LAW (light assault weapon) rocket launchers. Signed with Nammo Talley, the IDIQ (indefinite-delivery / indefinite-quantity) contract will last into 2019 and have a maximum value of around $63 million, dependant on options taken.
The M72 LAW's service history dates back some five decades. Introduced in 1963, the design has been operationally used in Vietnam, the more recent Iraqi and Afghan wars and numerous other settings.
In US Army service, the M72 LAW took over from two preceding designs: the M31 HEAT and M20A1 ‘Super Bazooka'. The initial M72 variant has since been superseded by a host of upgrades culminating in the most recent M72E10 - this and other modern versions still equipping a number of ground forces.
DoD M72 LAW Contract
According to Nammo Talley's Chad Parkhill, the new DoD M72 LAW contract represents "another important milestone" for this "battle-proven" weapon. "It also sustains the vital ammunition industrial supply base in a period of decreasing volume", he says. "We're ready and proud to provide US and allied forces with what we believe are the lightest, most capable and cost-effective shoulder-fired weapons in the world."
M72 Light Assault Weapon
The M72 light assault weapon weighs in at 5.5 pounds and is just shy of 35 inches in length when loaded. A one-shot design, it launches 66mm rockets across a range of approximately 660 feet. Nammo Talley is a division of Norwegian/Finnish aerospace/defence group Nammo (the Nordic Ammunition Company). The company has its headquarters in Mesa, Arizona, and it's here that the new M72 rockets will be produced. The launchers themselves will be assembled at Nammo Talley's Pennsylvania facility.
Nammo Talley claims that it is the sole US-based man-portable, unguided SLM (shoulder-launched munitions) manufacturer. It has to date supplied the US and other militaries with some 350,000 LAWs.