Procurement: Hot Rockets Threaten Australia


December 19,2008: An Australian Army officer was recently convicted of stealing ten M72 rocket launchers. We was sent to prison for seven years. Seven of the rockets made their way to Taha Abdul Rahman, a fence for stolen goods, who sold illegal weapons to criminals. This would include terrorists. Abdul Rahman was sent to prison for 3.5 years, but only one of the seven M72 he had was recovered. The other six are missing, and no one knows who has them. It is feared that the M72 are on the black market, and that terrorists could get their hands on them. This is deemed unlikely, but with the M72s still out there somewhere, anything is possible. Biker gangs have been scrutinized, as these outfits have, in other countries, expressed a fondness for weapons like the M72.

Developed in the 1960s, the U.S. made M72 is a  7.7 pound, 66mm, one-shot anti-tank rocket weapon. It has a range of 200 meters and is useful against structures as well as armored vehicles (although only the side armor of the latest tanks is vulnerable). The two pound warhead is designed to have some anti-personnel effect. The $2,000 M72 is the cheapest weapon in this class, and light enough for someone to carry several.



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