M72 Improved Light Antiarmor Weapon
Definition/Scope: (FM 3-23.25) The improved M72 light antiarmor weapon system is a compact, light weight, single shot, and disposable weapon with a family of warheads optimized to defeat lightly armored vehicles and other hard targets at close combat ranges. The improved M72 light antiarmor weapon systems offer significantly enhanced capability beyond that of the combat-proven M72A3. The improved M72 light antiarmor weapon system consists of a 66-mm unguided rocket prepackaged at the factory in a telescoping, throw-away launcher. The system performance improvements include a higher velocity rocket motor that extends the weapon effective range, increased lethality warheads, lower more consistent trigger release force, rifle type sight system, and better overall system reliability and safety. The improved M72 is transportable by all forms of rail, air, road, and sea transport, including tactical wheeled and tracked vehicles, without any safety constraints, and is certified for air delivery by individual parachutist or by pallet. Issued as a round of ammunition, it requires no maintenance. The 66-mm HEAT rocket warhead consists of a tapered, thin-gauge steel body. Once 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.
Broader Terms:antitank rocket
Related Terms:M136 AT4