LAWs Rocket

Prior to the fielding of the AT-4 the M-72 Light Anti-tank Weapon (LAW) was the Army's primary shoulder-fired, man-portable, light anti-tank rocket. The M72 66mm LAW (Light Anti-armor Weapon) was developed in the 1960s. It was a revolutionary idea: a pre-packaged rocket which could be fired and the launcher then thrown away. Like the RPG-7, the M72 is capable of penetrating a foot of armor, but its effective range is only 170 to 220 meters. Manufactured by Talley Industries in the U.S. and under license in Norway, it not only became a NATO standard but was copied and produced in Czechoslovakia and Russia (as the RPG-18 and RPG-26). Early versions were frequently inaccurate, corrected by an improved sight and a more powerful rocket motor.

The M72-series LAW is a lightweight, self-contained, anti-armor weapon consisting of a rocket packed in a launcher. 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. (Description from FAS)

Links - Line drawings of the weapon and projectile along with specifications. - Another page with specifications, but also has a nice picture of the projectile. - Israel Special Forces Web Site has a couple pictures of soldiers carrying them.


Any questions, comments, or problems, please email me.

Don Busack