Weapons: Son Of SMAW


September 2,2008:  The U.S. Marine Corps is getting a new and improved SMAW II, to replace the current SMAW rocket launcher. The marines found the LAW and AT/4 warheads (2.2 and four pounds, respectively) often too small, and bought the Israeli B300 (renamed SMAW, for Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon) in the mid-1980s. This is a 17 pound launcher that costs $14,000, but is not disposable, and each launcher can fire hundreds of 14 or 15 pound rockets, up to 500 meters, before it wears out or gets broken in action. The warhead is about twice the size of the AT/4s. The marines particularly liked the thermobaric (fuel-air explosive) rocket for the SMAW. These proved very useful during the 2004 battle of Fallujah. Thermobaric warheads, when detonating in a room, first disperse a combustible mist, which is then ignited, producing an enormous explosion, that often destroys small buildings, and kills everyone in the room, and adjacent rooms and hallways.

The SMAW II launcher will weigh 11 pounds and the rockets will be more accurate, more reliable, more destructive and have a range of 600 meters. SMAW II won't be ready for service for at least three years. While SMAW I was developed by Israelis, SMAW II is being developed by a Norwegian firm.




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