5-7. 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 (Figure 5-3). 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.
Figure 5-3. Improved M72.
5-8. The following data applies to the M72A4/5/6/7 light antiarmor weapons: Launcher
• Length (extended): 980 millimeters (38.6 inches)
• Length (closed): 775 millimeters (30.5 inches)
• Firing mechanism: Percussion
• Front sight: Three-post
• Rear sight: Peep, adjustable to 350 meters in 50 meter increments
Rocket, Caliber 66-mm
• Length: 50.8 centimeters (20 inches)
• Muzzle velocity: 200 meters per second (656 feet per second)
• Maximum range: 1,400 meters
• Maximum altitude: 950 meters
■ Effective: 220 meters
5-9. The 66-mm HEAT rocket warhead consists of a tapered, thin-gauge steel body (Figure 5-4). 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. Figure 5-5 shows how the warhead penetrates 300 millimeters of rolled homogeneous steel armor.
5-10. The nose cone crushes; the impact sensor activates the fuze. Ignition
5-11. The ogive crush switch activates the electric detonator. The booster detonates, initiating the main charge.
5-12. The main charge fires and forces the warhead body liner into a directional gas jet that penetrates armor plate.
After-Armor Effects (Spalling)
5-13. The projectile fragments and incendiary effects produce blinding light and highly destructive results (Figure 5-5).
5-14. The head of the round is olive drab stenciled in yellow. The M412 fuze is drop-safe and bore-safe. Its minimum arming distance is about 33 feet (10 meters). Six stabilizing fins are attached as part of the motor. As the rocket clears the launcher, springs force open the fins, which stabilize the rocket in flight.
5-15. Five complete M72-series LAWs are packaged within a fiberboard inner pack for a total weight of 12.5 kilograms (27 1/2 pounds). Three inner packs are then placed in a wire-bound wooden box, the gross weight of which is 54.5 kilograms (120 pounds) (Figure 5-6).
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