The Army’s Souped-Up New M3 Recoilless Rifle Is Headed Downrange Sooner Than You Think

Gear
A soldier tests the M3E1 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-personnel Weapon System.
Photo via DoD

After more than a year testing a handful of major upgrades to the shoulder-fired M3 recoilless rifle, the Army is racing to dole out more than 1,000 of the brutal anti-tank bazooka system to lucky soldiers around the world.


On Sept. 6, the branch announced that it had approved 1,111 M3E1 recoilless rifles for immediate use as a lightweight, reusable replacement to the standard 84mm M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MMAAWS), better known as the M3 Carl Gustaf, that emerged as a staple of Army Ranger and Navy SEAL arsenals in 1994.

Developed for both the Army and the U.S. Special Operations Command, the M3E1 is a significantly lighter and less cumbersome anti-tank system than its predecessor, according to officials with the Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The weapon was designed in collaboration with Swedish manufacturer Saab Bofors Dynamics, godfather of the original Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle, as part of foreign technology program initiated in 2012 to save R&D; dollars

In response to soldier and special operator feedback, the M3E1’s new titanium shell reduces the system’s weight by 6 pounds and length by 2.5 inches, swaddling the bazooka in an adjustable new carrying harness and shoulder padding. But more importantly, the Army hopes its re-engineered new bazooka will give troops a deadly capability they haven’t always enjoyed downrange: the ability to fire multiple shots with the same weapon.

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, project manager for the foreign technology program, said in a statement. “With the M3E1, Soldiers can use different types of ammunition which gives them an increased capability on the battlefield.”

A soldier tests the M3E1 Multi-role Anti-armor Anti-personnel Weapon System.Photo via DoD

In addition to increased comfort and firepower, the new M3E1 might just end up being (relatively) cheaper in the long run, which was the end goal of the foreign technology program. On top of a customizable fire control and fuze setting system, a specialized automatic round counter will “[enable] soldiers and logisticians to accurately track the service life of each weapon,” according to the Army.

Cheaper and more comfortable, is great, sure. But given that every Army infantry platoon currently enjoys the explosive glory of the M3 Gustaf, the real question is: how much boom does this bad boy actually make? Let’s see what Saab, which unveiled the new M3E1 system (as the M4) in 2014, has to say about that:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Known for acting on impulse, President Donald Trump has adopted an uncharacteristically go-slow approach to whether to hold Iran responsible for attacks on Saudi oil facilities, showing little enthusiasm for confrontation as he seeks re-election next year.

After state-owned Saudi Aramco's plants were struck on Saturday, Trump didn't wait long to fire off a tweet that the United States was "locked and loaded" to respond, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran.

But four days later, Trump has no timetable for action. Instead, he wants to wait and see the results of investigations into what happened and is sending Pompeo to consult counterparts in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates this week.

Read More Show Less

That sound you're hearing is Army senior leaders exhaling a sigh of relief, because the Army has surpassed its recruiting goal for the year.

After failing to meet recruiting goals in 2018, the Army put the pedal to the metal and "did some soul searching," said Acting Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, to ensure that they'd meet their 2019 goal. It must have paid off — the service announced on Tuesday that more than 68,000 recruits have signed on as active-duty soldiers, and more soldiers have stuck around than they expected.

Read More Show Less

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein transformed into the Cigarette Smoking Man from "The X-Files" on Tuesday when explaining why UFO enthusiasts should avoid storming the mythical Area 51 installation in Nevada.

"All joking aside, we're taking it very seriously," Goldfein told reporters during the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. "Our nation has secrets, and those secrets deserve to be protected. The people deserve to have our nation's secrets protected."

Read More Show Less
Paul Szoldra/Task & Purpose

SAN DIEGO — A San Diego-based Navy SEAL acquitted of murder in a closely watched war crimes trial this summer has filed a lawsuit against two of his former attorneys and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to a complaint filed in federal court in Texas on Friday.

Read More Show Less

NATIONAL HARBOR, Maryland — The Air Force is reviewing whether some airmen's valor awards deserve to be upgraded to the Medal of Honor, Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein said on Tuesday.

Goldfein revealed that several airmen are being considered for the nation's highest military award during a press conference at the Air Force Association's annual Air, Space, and Cyber Conference. He declined to say exactly who could receive the Medal of Honor, pending the outcome of the review process.

Read More Show Less