The M72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon, also referred to as the Light Anti-Armor Weapon or LAW) is a portable one-shot 66 mm anti-tank weapon, designed in United States by Talley Defense Systems, produced by Nammo Raufoss AS in Norway.
The weapon consists of a rocket packed inside of a launcher made up of two tubes, one inside the other. While closed, the outer assembly acts as a watertight container for the rocket and the percussion cap-type firing mechanism that activates the rocket. The outer tube contains the trigger, the arming handle, front and rear sights, and the rear cover. The inner tube contains the channel assembly which houses the firing pin assembly, including the detent lever. When extended, the inner tube telescopes outward toward the rear, guided by the channel assembly which rides in an alignment slot in the outer tube’s trigger housing assembly. This causes the detent lever to move under the trigger assembly in the outer tube, both locking the inner tube in the extended position and cocking the weapon. Once armed, the weapon is no longer watertight even if the launcher is collapsed into its original configuration.
When fired, the propellant in the rocket motor completely combusts before leaving the tip of the launcher, producing gases around 1,400 °F (760 °C). The rocket propels the 66 mm warhead forward without significant recoil. As the warhead emerges from the launcher, 6 fins spring out from the base of the rocket tube, stabilizing the warhead’s flight
Once fired the launcher is no longer useful and may be discarded. Due to the single use nature of the weapon, it was issued as a round of ammunition by the Canadian Army and the US Army.
|M72||66 mm Talley single shot disposable rocket launcher; pre-loaded w/ HEAT rocket|
|M72A1||M72 variant; improved rocket motor|
|M72A2||M72 variant; improved rocket motor|
|M72A3||M72A1/A2 variant; safety upgrades|
|M72A4||M72 variant; rocket optimised for high-penetration; uses improved launcher assembly|
|M72A5||M72A3; uses improved launcher assembly|
|M72A6||M72 variant; rocket w/ low penetration, improved blast effect; uses improved launcher assembly|
|M72A7||M72A6 variant; US Army M72A6 variant for US Navy|
|M72E8||M72A7 variant; Fire-From-Enclosure (FFE) capable rocket motor; uses improved launcher assembly|
|M72E9||M72 variant; rocket w/ improved anti-armour capability; uses improved launcher assembly|
|M72E10||M72 variant; HE-Frag rocket; uses improved launcher assembly|