How much does an M72 law cost

M72 LAW - M72 LAW

Anti-tank grenade launcher with rocket propulsion
The M72 LAW in the extended position
Art Anti-tank tank grenade launcher
place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1963 - today
Used by Please refer Operators
Wars Vietnam War
Cambodian Civil War
Lao Civil War
Lebanese Civil War
Nicaraguan Revolution
Falklands War
Salvadoran Civil War
Gulf War
Bougainville Civil War
Somali civil war
Bosnian war
War in Afghanistan
Iraq war
Syrian civil war
Yemeni civil war
Production history
Designer FA Spinale, CB Weeks, and PV Choate
Designed Patent pending in 1963
Manufacturer Norway: NAMMO (Raufoss, Norway)
USA: NAMMO Defense Systems (Mesa, Arizona)
Turkey: Under license from MKEK
Cost per unit € 670 or $ 750 (converted)
Dimensions 2.5 kg (M72A1-3) / 3.6 kg (M72A4-7)
length 630 mm (24.8
Inches) (unarmed) 881 mm (34.67 inches) (armed)

caliber 66 mm
Muzzle velocity 145 m / s (475.7 ft / s)
Effective shooting range 200 m (660 ft), 220 m (720 ft) (A4-7)
Point initiated, base detonated
1960s weapons similar to M72

The M72 LAW (Light anti-armor weapon, also called light anti-armor weapon or indirect reference LAW as LAWS : Light Anti-Armor Weapons System) is a portable one-shot 66-mm unguided anti-tank weapon. The solid rocket propulsion unit was developed in 1959 in the newly established Rohm and Haas research laboratory in the Redstone Arsenal. The overall system was then developed by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, Frank A. Spinale et al. in the Hessian-Eastern department of Norris Thermadore. American production of the weapon began in Hessen-Ost in 1963 and was discontinued in 1983. It is currently manufactured by Nammo Raufoss AS in Norway and its subsidiary Nammo Talley, Inc. in Arizona.

In early 1963, the US Army and US Marine Corps adopted the M72 LAW as the primary anti-tank weapon for infantry, replacing the M31 HEAT rifle grenade and the M20A1 "Super Bazooka" in the US Army. It was later adopted by the U.S. Air Force to serve an anti-emplacement / anti-armor role in air base defense duties.

In the early 1980s, the M72 was to be replaced by the FGR-17 Viper. However, this program was canceled by Congress and the M136 AT4 was adopted instead. At that time, the closest equivalents were the Swedish Pskott m / 68 (Miniman) and the French SARPAC.


1961 LAW prototype showing the rejected visor that also served as a front cover

The increasing importance of tanks and other armored vehicles during World War II resulted in the need for portable infantry weapons to handle them. The first to be used (with limited success) were Molotov cocktails, flamethrowers, satchel loads, jury-rigged land mines, and specially designed shaped magnetic charges. All of this had to be used within a few meters of the target, which was difficult and dangerous.

The US Army introduced the Panzerfaust, the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Despite early problems, it was a success and was copied by other countries.

However, the bazooka had its drawbacks. It was large and easily damaged, and required a well-trained two-man crew. Germany developed a one-man alternative, the bazooka, with single-shot launchers that were cheap and did not require special training. As a result, they were regularly issued to Volkssturm home guard regiments. They were very efficient against tanks in the last days of World War II.

The M72 LAW is a combination of the two weapons of World War II. The basic principle is a miniaturized bazooka, while its light weight and cheapness compete with the bazooka.


M72 demonstration at Fort Benning, Georgia in the 1960s

The weapon consists of a missile in a launcher, which consists of two tubes that are inside each other. When closed, the outer assembly serves as a watertight container for the missile and the striking mechanism for the striking cap that activates the missile. The outer tube contains the trigger, the arming handle, the front and rear visors and the rear cover. The inner tube contains the channel arrangement in which the firing pin arrangement including the locking lever is located. When extended, the inner tube telescopes outward, guided by the duct assembly that sits in an alignment slot in the outer tube's trigger housing assembly. This causes the locking lever to move under the trigger assembly in the outer tube, which both locks the inner tube in the extended position and cocks the weapon. Once armed, the gun is no longer waterproof, even if the launcher is folded in its original configuration.

When fired, the firing pin in the rear barrel hits a primer that ignites a small amount of powder that "flashes" through a barrel to the rear of the rocket and ignites the propellant in the rocket motor. The rocket motor burns completely before it leaves the muzzle of the launcher, generating gases around 760 ° C. The rocket propels the 66 mm warhead forward with no appreciable recoil. As the warhead emerges from the launcher, six fins jump out of the bottom of the rocket tube and stabilize the flight of the warhead. The early LAW warhead, developed from the M31 HEAT rifle grenade warhead, uses a simple but extremely safe and reliable piezoelectric ignition system. Upon impact with the target, the front of the nose portion is squeezed, creating a microsecond electrical current that detonates a booster charge in the base of the warhead that releases the main warhead charge. The force of the main charge forces the copper liner into a directed particle beam that can penetrate massively in relation to the size of the warhead.

A unique mechanical kickback protection feature at the base of the detonator grounds the circuit until the missile accelerates out of the tube. The acceleration causes the three disks in the safety mechanism to turn 90 ° one after the other, which means that the circuit is not earthed. The cycle from the nose to the base of the detonator is complete when the piezoelectric crystal is crushed upon impact.


The M72 LAW was issued as a prepackaged ammunition round. Improvements to the launcher and differences in ammunition were distinguished by a single designation. The original M72 warhead penetrated 5 cm of armor.

There is also a training variant of the M72 called LAW M190 . This weapon is reloadable and uses the 35mm M73- Training rocket. There is also a sub-caliber exercise device for the M72 that uses a special tracer cartridge. One type of training used by the Finnish Armed Forces fires 7.62mm tracer cartridges.

The US Army tested other 66mm missiles based on the one used for the M72 M54- Rocket motor based. The M74 TPA (Thickened Pyrophoric Agent) had an incendiary warhead filled with TEA (triethylaluminum); This was used in the 4-tube launcher M202A1 FLASH (FLame Assault SHoulder weapon). The XM96 RCR (Riot Control Rocket) had a CS-filled warhead to control the crowd and was used with the four-tube XM191 launcher.

Once fired in combat, the launcher must be destroyed to prevent it from being used as a booby trap by the enemy. The enemy could fold the launcher back to its original configuration, fill it with explosives and detonate it in such a way that it explodes if moved by a soldier who thinks it is unused. Due to the disposable nature of the weapon, it has been passed off by the Canadian and US Army as a so-called "wooden ammunition round" that requires no inspection or maintenance, just as small arms ammunition can be stored in the same way for years with no problems.

Service history


The M72 missile has been in Australian service since the Vietnam War. Currently, the Australian Defense Force is using the M72A6 variant known as the Light Direct Fire Support Weapon as an anti-structural and secondary anti-armament weapon. The weapon is used by ordinary troops at the section (squad) level and complements Carl Gustav's heavier 84mm recoil rifle and the spear missile, which are generally used by specialized fire and anti-tank troops.


Taiwan (Army of the Republic of China) uses the M72 as a secondary anti-tank weapon. It is mainly used as a backup for the Javelin and M136 (AT4) anti-tank weapons. The weapon was later developed back into the "Type 1 66mm anti-tank missile", but is popularly referred to as the "Type 66 missile" due to its caliber.

Packing boxes are used to demonstrate the danger of M72 recoil


The M72 LAW is used in the Finnish Army (approx. 70,000 units), where it is under the designation 66 KES 75 (M72A2, no longer in use) and 66 KES 88 (M72A5) is known. In accordance with the known limitations of the weapon, two "Panzer-Buster" troops crawl into a firing position about 50 to 150 meters from the target, bringing four to six LAWS with them, which are then used in quick succession to the target, destroyed or is incapacitated. Due to its low penetration ability, it is mainly used against lightly armored targets. The M72 is the most common anti-tank weapon in the Finnish Army. Finland recently upgraded its inventory to the M72 EC LAW Mk.I version. It is with 66 KES 12 . The claimed penetration for the M72 EC LAW is 450 mm of rolled homogeneous armored steel plate, almost twice as much as for the M72A2. It also includes the Bunker Buster version, the 440g DPX-6 explosives labeled M72 ASM RC and locally as 66 KES 12 RAK contains . The oldest version 66 KES 75 is now retired.


The Turkish Army uses a locally built version of Makina ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu called HAR-66 (Hafif Antitank Roketi, light anti-tank missile), which has the performance and characteristics of a mixture of the M72A2 and A3. Turkey also developed an anti-personnel warhead version of HAR-66 AP and named it "Eşek Arısı" (Wasp).

United Kingdom

The British Army had used the NAMMO M72 under the designation "Rocket 66 mm HEAT L1A1", but it was replaced by the LAW 80 in the 1980s. The M72 missile was returned to British service as part of the Urgent Operations Program, with the M72A9 variant as the Light anti-structure ammunition (LASM).

United States

M72 as used in Vietnam, 1968.
Modern M72 in use in Afghanistan with US Marines, 2008.

During the time in Vietnam and after Vietnam, all LAWS enacted were recalled after the warhead exploded in flight, sometimes injuring the operator. Following safety enhancements, part of the training and target practice included the requirement to ensure that the words "with coupler" were included in the text description written on the carrier indicating that the carrier had the required safety modifications.

In late 1982, after the intended replacement of the M72 failed, the Viper ordered the US Army to test off-the-shelf light anti-tank weapons and report back by the end of 1983. In collaboration with Raufoss AS, Talley Defense offered the M72E5, which offered greater range, penetration and better visibility; This was tested along with five other light anti-tank weapons in 1983. Despite the improvements that the M72E5 offered, the AT4 was chosen to replace the M72.

Although the M72 LAW is widely viewed as a weapon from the Vietnam War that was superseded by the more powerful AT4, it has found new life in the operations of the U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, and Canadian Army in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Law's lower cost and weight, combined with the lack of modern heavy armored targets and the need for an individual assault weapon compared to a single anti-tank weapon, made it ideal for the kind of urban fighting in Iraq and mountain warfare seen in Afghanistan. In addition, a soldier can carry two LAWS on a mission, as opposed to a single AT4.

M72A7 fire trainer with Picatinny rail

The U.S. Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, Virginia, placed a firm order for $ 15.5 million on Talley Defense for 7,750 M72A7s. The delivery should be completed in April 2011. The M72A7 LAW is an improvement over previous versions, including an improved rocket motor for higher speed to accurately attack targets over 200 meters, a tough ammunition warhead to reduce the chance of an accidental explosion, and a Picatinny rail for mounting laser pointers and Night vision devices. The LAW is useful in Afghanistan as a small and light missile system for use against short and medium-sized targets by foot patrols in difficult terrain and at high altitudes in the country. The US military is still buying LAW missiles as of January 2015. In 2018, it was reported that an upgrade was being developed for the LAW that would improve the fire control system and largely eliminate recoil from the weapon, making it possible to fire the missile weapon safely in confined spaces.


Several M72A1 and M72A2 LAWS captured from the Vietnam War were put into service with the Chemical Force of the Vietnamese People's Army. The launchers are upgraded to fire multiple times and are armed with M74 incendiary projectiles.


Exposed M72A6 missiles (bottom right) next to M72A6 barrels and ammunition for recoilless 84 mm Carl Gustav rifles; Waiting for destruction.


description description US designation International designation
M72 66mm Talley single shot disposable rocket launcher; preloaded with HEAT missile M72
M72A1 Improved rocket engine M72A1 L1A1 (UK)
M72A2 Improved rocket motor, higher penetration M72A2 66 KES 75 (Finland)
M72A3 M72A2 variant; Security upgrades M72A3
M72A4 Missile optimized for high penetration; Uses an improved launcher assembly M72A4
M72A5 M72A3 variant; Uses an improved launcher assembly M72A5 66 KES 88 (Finland)
M72A6 Warhead modified for lower penetration but increased explosion effect; Uses an improved launcher assembly M72A6
M72A7 M72A6 variant, insensitive explosive (PBXN-9) version for the US Navy M72A7
M72A7 grazing A7 variant with super-sensitive Graze detonator, excluded from training (only in combat) M72A7 with Graze
M72A9 Explosion-optimized HE warhead, DPX-6 explosives Light Anti-Structure Missile (LASM) [UK]
M72E8 Variant M72A7; Fire-From-Enclosure (FFE) capable rocket motor; Uses an improved launcher assembly
M72E9 M72 variant; Missile with improved anti-tank capability; Uses an improved launcher assembly
M72E10 M72 variant; HE-Frag missile; Uses an improved launcher assembly
M72E11 Airburst M72
M72 EC Improved capacity, increased anti-tank performance. 315 grams of PBXW-11 explosives 66 KES 12 (Finland)
M72 ASM RC Calibrated 45 mm anti-structure missile of reduced caliber, 0.4 kg of DPX-6 explosives 66 KES 12 RAK (Finland)
M247 2.75 "missile warhead using M72A2 warhead components, 2.0 lb of composition B explosive. M247
HAR-66 Turkish variant, mixture of A2 and A3 characteristics HAR-66 (Turkey)
M72AS 21 mm reusable trainer M72AS
M190 35mm training variant, fires M73 training missile M190

Armor penetration

variant penetration
M72 / A1 200 mm
M72A2 / A3 / A5 300 mm
M72A4 350 mm
M72A6 / A7 150 mm
M72 EC Mk.1 450 mm
M72 EC Mk.2 300 mm
M247 ~ 300 mm

Technical data (M72A2 and M72A3)


  • length :
    • Extended: less than 1 m.
    • Closed: 0.67 m.
  • Weight :
    • Complete M72A2: 2.3 kg.
    • Complete M72A3: 2.5 kg.
  • Firing mechanism : Percussion.
  • Visor : Crosshair graduated in steps of 25 m.
  • Visor : The Peep-Sight automatically adapts to the change in temperature.


  • caliber : 66 mm
  • length : 508 mm
  • Weight : 1.8 kg
  • Muzzle velocity : 145 m / s (475 ft / s)
  • Minimum Range (Combat) : 10 m
  • Minimum arming range : 10 m
  • Maximum range : 1,000 m
  • penetration : 300 mm

Maximum effective range

  • Stationary target : 200 m
  • Moving target : 165 m
  • Outside of these areas there is less than a 50% chance of hitting the target.


Map with M72 operators in blue with previous operators in red

Current operator

Former users

See also

Similar weapons



External links

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