Find a Security Clearance Job!


Multi-Role Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS)
Ranger Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (RAAWS)

The Multi-Role Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS), previously known as the Ranger Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (RAAWS), and also known as the M3 MAAWS, is shoulder-fired, air jumpable, and swimmable 84mm recoilless rifle system. The system is a non-developmental item consisting of the Carl Gustav M3 (also written Carl Gustaf) reusable recoilless rifle/launcher compatible with standard optical devices and other accessories. The weapon weighs approximately 25 pounds and is 42 inches in length. The system can utilize a wide variety of ammunition types including: high explosive anti-tank (HEAT), high explosive dual purpose (HEDP), high explosive (HE), smoke, and illumination rounds. Full and subcaliber training systems are also available. The Carl Gustav M3 recoilless rifle and the supporting family of ammunition were manufactured by SAAB Defense and Security (Bofors and FFV Ordnance merged in 1991; Bofors was later purchased by Celsius, which was in turn purchased by SAAB, becoming first SAAB Bofors Dynamics and then SAAB Defense and Security).

The MAAWS is a primary anti-armor and anti-personnel weapon for US Army Special Operations Command and US Naval Special Warfare Command users within the US Special Operations Command. The primary mission is to defeat lightly armored vehicles, soft skinned vehicles, personnel in the open or defilade, and field fortifications. Secondary missions include marking threat targets with smoke for supporting weapons, obscuring threat weapons and illuminating threat targets. It is employed by Army Rangers and Navy SEALS during special operations missions, infiltration, exfiltration, raids, ambushes and defensive operations.

The Special Operations Forces Modernization Action Plan indicated need for a Ranger Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (RAAWS) to replace the M67 recoilless rifle in use by the 75th Ranger Regiment. A market survey conducted by Headquarters, Department of the Army in 1987 indicated that the 84mm Carl-Gustaf M3 recoilless rifle, then manufactured by FFV Ordnance of Sweden, was the best candidate for satisfying the RAAWS requirement and the Special Operations Division was the Army Materiel Command focal point for coordinating the $20 million RAAWS acquisition program. The Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC) negotiated a loan agreement with FFV for 9 M3 weapons for an Army Development and Employment Agency (ADEA) appraisal. Army Materiel Command's DCS for International Cooperative Programs provided International Materiel Evaluation funds used to purchase ammunition for the M3, including High Explosive Anti-Tank, High Explosive, Smoke, illumination, target practice, and 7.62mm ammunition for the subcaliber device for the Carl-Gustaf M3.

The funds were also used for training, for ARDEC support for the ADEA appraisal, and for the weapons, ammunition and support required for follow-on safety testing and type classification. Army Materiel Command's US Army Special Projects Support Authority (USA SPSA) based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, procured 3 night sights to be used with the M3 during ADEA's appraisal. The ADEA M3 appraisal, held from April to August 1988 using Ranger personnel, was favorable. The US Army Special Operations Agency concluded the ADEA appraisal satisfied the Operational Test requirements for RAAWS. In July 1988, the Headquarters, Department of the Army issued a message that constituted a Department of the Army Requirements Document, after receipt of an Operational Need Statement from the 75th Ranger Regiment in May 1988, endorsed by the 1st Special Operations Command (SOCOM). The M3 was selected as the RAAWS on 29 September 1988 from candidate proposals submitted in response to market survey compiled by ARDEC.

On 25 January 1989, the Under Secretary of the Army approved a RAAWS Justification, and a Justification and Approval submitted on 14 October 1988 by ARDEC. The RAAWS Type Classification-Generic package was signed on 6 February 1989. The RAAWS' Test and Evaluation Master Plan and Integrated Logistics Support Plan were both approved on 6 June 1989. The AT-4 weapon jump pack was to be used for the RAAWS. Replacement parts for 50 of M3 weapons would be managed and stocked by USA SPSA in accord with an agreement between the Special Operations Division, Program Manager RAAWS, US Army Special Operations Agency, Program/Budget/Resources Division, Logistics Support Branch, and Army Materiel Command ADCS for special operations forces.

FFV Ordnance's 4 April 1989 response to the US Government's 8 February 1989 sole source solicitation (based on the 11 October 1988 market survey) indicated that the Swedish Government required that the US Government sign a Declaration of End User (EUC) prior to the RAAWS contract award. The Swedish Government requirement for an EUC was relatively new, and was based, ironically, on US Commerce Department regulations on the control of high technology/weapons transfers, which Sweden had developed in response to prodding by the US Government.

On 21 July 1989, ARDEC forwarded through Army Materiel Command to the Headquarter, Department of the Army's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Procurement, Research, Developemnt and Acquisition, a memorandum requesting EUC signature authority. A response was received on 1 August 1989 in a memorandum indicating that the Army did not consider EUCs to be in the US Government's best interest, that the Department of the Army had requested EUC policy guidance from the office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), and that ARDEC's request was denied until further guidance was provided by OSD.

On 4 August 1989, Major General Rigby sent a memorandum stating that Army Materiel Command would negotiate a contract to the point of award. If the EUC was still required at that time and the signature authority was not provided, the program could not proceed. On 15 August 1989, another memorandum was sent to the Program Manager, RAAWS granting the RAAWS Procurement Contracting Office a "one time, non-precedence setting, authority to sign End User Certificates" for RAAWS on behalf of the Army.

On 8 September 1989, a RAAWS test hardware contract with multi-year production options was awarded. On 20 October 1989, test hardware was delivered to TECOM and testing began. Other RAAWS test activities included evaluations at Dugway and Yuma Proving Grounds and White Sands Missile Range. The RAAWS was to be Type Classified Limited Production Urgent and the production contract was to be awarded at the completion of the test as of FY89. Fielding to the first unit was scheduled for the fourth quarter of FY90. The first contracted systems were delivered in 1990.

A subsequent review of the contractor-supplied fatigue test data determined that this data did not meet US Army requirements. Therefore, it was determined that Benet Laboratories should conduct a fatigue test of 2 tubes in accordance with the International Test Operations Procedure (ITOP) 3-2-829 in order to establish an interim safe service life for the weapon. Normal procedure for fatigue life testing required that the tubes be fired prior to laboratory hydraulic cycling in order to produce metallurgical damage, i.e., small cracks at the bore surface (heat checking) that initiate the fatigue process. Since the manufacturer's recommended life for the weapon was 500 rounds, it was decided that the 2 tubes selected for fatigue testing (Serial numbers 14002 and 14003) would each be fired with 500 rounds by FFV at the Hugelsta Proving Ground, Sweden, and then shipped to Benet Laboratories for hydraulic fatigue testing. These rounds were not used in the calculation of the interim safe service life of the weapon because they were fired below the extreme service condition pressure.

The tests, conducted in 1993, indicated a high quality of materials and workmanship in the manufacturing process. The stresses calculated by the finite element analysis were in close agreement with those measured in the composite jacket during testing. These stresses were low compared to the normal tensile strength of the type of material tested. The bore surfaces showed no indications of erosion after firing 500 rounds. The interim fatigue life resulting from these tests was one-third of the lowest number of cycles or 2,360 rounds. This was over 4 times the recommended life of 500 rounds. However, if a fatigue life greater than 500 rouuds was to be established, the tests recommended that 4 additional weapons (for total of 6) be tested to establish a full safe service life.

US Navy SEAL interest in the system led to the program being moved to a Joint Integrated Product Team to manage all efforts. The program name subsequently changed from the RAAWS to the Multi-Role Anti-Armor/Anti-Personnel Weapon System (MAAWS), to reflect the joint service nature of the system. Tests and further evaluation were subsequently conducted to support Naval Special Warfare Command's fielding of the MAAWS.

A Picatinny Fire Control Device (PFCD) was also developed for the MAAWS at the US Army's Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey for the MAAWS. The PFCD was used as a mount for optical/night sights. It was used to address trajectory differences between HEAT, HE, and HEDP rounds. The PFCD contained a dual function knob that could be used to select round type and range. The original fire control device from Bofors was a 2-cam design, which could address only the trajectories of the HEAT and HE rounds. A second knob with a third cam was provided for the HEDP firing. The idea of switching knobs was not favorable by the Rangers and Picatinny was tasked to design a 3-cam fire control device to replace the factory supplied unit.

In late 2011, the US Army placed a combined order with USSOCOM for MAAWS for regular US Army forces. The purchase was in response to an Urgent Need Statement from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division in Afghanistan, and the 126 launchers were to go to that unit and also to elements of the 82nd Airborne Division preparing to deploy to that country. By January 2012, several MAAWS were in use by US Army elements in Afghanistan as part of a limited operational assessment to determine how the weapon would be best integrated into forces there.

On 28 March 2013, the US Army Contracting Command - New Jersey at Picatinny Arsenal, on behalf of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) issued as sources sought notice as part of a market survey to identify potential sources for immediate procurement or rapid development of a kit to lighten the MAAWS. USSOCOM was considering a weight reduction of the system. The overall weight reduction would be at a minimum 3 pounds, with a desired weight reduction of 5 pounds. The weight reduction would need to be accomplished without affecting the overall center of gravity of the rifle. In addition, a overall length reduction of approximately 3 inches is sought. The lightening of the weapon was required to not affect its safety or ruggedness when exposed to the rigors normally associated with military operations, including air delivery and salt water submersion. A fully developed kit with production configuration would be delivered no later than 16 months from the onset of performing the desired tasks.

Join the mailing list