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US M72A2 LAW Tube with HEAT Rocket 7-78


7-78 Dated Launcher

The M72-series LAW is a lightweight, self-contained, antiarmor weapon consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher (Figure 2-1). It is man-portable, may be fired from either shoulder, and is issued as a round of ammunition. It requires little from the user— only a visual inspection and some operator maintenance. The launcher, which consists of two tubes, one inside the other, serves as a watertight packing container for the rocket and houses a percussion-type firing mechanism that activates the rocket.

. Outer Tube. The trigger housing assembly (which contains the trigger assembly) is on the upper surface of the outer tube. So are the trigger arming handle, front and rear sight assemblies, and the launcher's rear cover.

b. Inner Tube. The inner tube telescopes outward toward the rear, guided by a channel assembly that rides in an alignment slot in the outer tube's trigger housing assembly. The channel assembly also houses the firing pin rod assembly, which includes a detent lever assembly. The detent lever assembly moves under the trigger assembly in the outer tube, locking the inner tube in the extended position and cocking the weapon. All this must occur before the weapon can be fired.

c. Rocket. The rocket is a percussion-ignited, fin-stabilized, fixed munition. The rocket is attached by the igniter to the inside of the launcher. The rocket consists of a 66-mm HEAT warhead, a point-initiating, base-detonating fuze, and a rocket motor. Six spring-loaded fins are attached to the rear of the rocket motor. These fins are folded forward along the motor when the rocket is in the launcher. When ignited, the propellant in the rocket motor burns completely, producing gasses about 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit (760 degrees Centigrade). The gas pressure pushes the rocket toward the target and exits to the rear of the launcher as the backblast.


The following data apply to the M72A2 and M72A3 LAWs:

a. Launcher.
Length (Extended) Less than 1 meter (34.67 inches)
Length (Closed) .0.67 meter (24.8 inches)
Weight (Complete M72A2) 2.3 kg (5.1 pounds)
Weight (Complete M72A3) 2.5 kg (5.5 pounds)
Firing Mechanism Percussion
Front Sight Reticle graduated in 25-meter range increments
Rear Sight Peep sight adjusts automatically to temperature change

b. Rocket.
Caliber 66 mm
Length 50.8 cm (20 inches)
Weight 1.8 kg (2.2 pounds)
Muzzle Velocity 144.8 mps (475 fps)
Minimum Range (Combat) 10 meters (33 feet)
Minimum Arming Range 10 meters (33 feet)
Maximum Range 1,000 meters (3,300 feet)
Maximum Effective Ranges:
Stationary Target
200 meters (660 feet) Moving Target
165 meters (541 feet) (Beyond these ranges, there is less than a fifty percent chance of hitting the target.)


The M72-series LAW is issued as a round of ammunition. It contains a nonadjustable propelling charge and a rocket. Every M72-series LAW has an integral high-explosive antitank (HEAT) warhead. The warhead is in the rocket's head (or body) section. The fuze and booster are in the rocket's closure section. The propellant, its igniter, and the fin assembly are in the rocket's motor. No inert versions are available (Figure 2-2). Appendix B provides information about appropriate gunnery training devices and ammunition. Although the M72-series LAW is mainly used as an antiarmor weapon, it may be used with limited success against secondary targets such as gun emplacements, pillboxes, buildings, or light vehicles.

. Description. The 66-mm HEAT rocket warhead consists of a tapered, thin-gauge steel body. When it explodes, the force and heat of the explosive focus into a small but powerful gas jet. This directional jet penetrates the target and, if the target is a vehicle, sprays molten metal inside. If the jet hits an engine or ammunition, it may start a fire or cause an explosion. Figure 2-3 shows how the warhead penetrates 300 millimeters of rolled homogeneous steel armor.

(1) Impact. The nose cone crushes; the impact sensor activates the fuze.

(2) Ignition. The ogive crush switch activates the electric detonator. The booster detonates, initiating the main charge.

(3) Penetration. The main charge fires and forces the warhead body liner into a directional gas jet that penetrates armor plate.

(4) After Armor Effects (Spalling). The projectile fragments and incendiary effects produce blinding light and destroy the target's interior.

b. Characteristics. The head of the round is olive drab stenciled in yellow. The M412 fuze is dropsafe and boresafe. Its minimum arming distance is about 33 feet (10 meters). Six stabilizing fins are attached as part of the motor. As the rocket clears the launcher, springs force open the fins, which stabilize the rocket in flight.

c. Packaging. Five complete M72-series LAWs are packaged within a fiberboard inner pack for a total weight of 12.5 kilograms (27 1/2 pounds). Three inner packs are then placed in a wire-bound wooden box, the gross weight of which is 54.5 kilograms (120 pounds) (Figure 2-4).

Because the M72-series LAW is issued as a round of ammunition rather than as a weapon, inspection is limited to a visual examination of the sealed unit.

Inspect the launcher's overall condition before preparing the launcher for use. * Check the body for dents, cracks, or bulges.
* Check the rubber boots covering the trigger bar and barrel detent for tears or punctures.
* Ensure the arming handle is present and on SAFE and that the pull pin is in place.
* Check the data plate for the phrase, W/COUPLER





Before preparing the launcher for use, the firer inspects its overall condition.

a. To extend the rocket launcher—

(1) Remove the pull pin and rotate the rear cover downward so the front cover and adjustable sling assembly can fall free (Figures 2-15 and 2-16). Do not discard the sling assembly until after you fire the rocket.

With your firing hand, grasp the rear sight cover; with your nonfiring hand, grasp the launcher forward of the barrel detent. Pull your hands sharply in opposite directions to extend the launcher . To ensure the launcher is fully extended and locked, try to close it

To fire the rocket launcher, raise it slightly above shoulder level, rotate your body under it, and place it on your shoulder. Check the backblast area, pull the trigger arming handle to the ARM position, aim the launcher, and depress the rubber boot on the trigger bar firmly to ensure the launcher fires (Figure 2-19). (If the trigger arming handle will not remain in the ARM position, the launcher is not fully extended.) Pressing the trigger bar causes the firing pin to strike the primer, which ignites the black powder in the flash tube, which in turn ignites the propellant in the rocket motor.

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This product was added to our catalog on Saturday 28 November, 2009.

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