Weapons: Israel Follows The LAW


November 17, 2014: Israel recently ordered over 25,000 of the American M72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon) disposable (use once) rocket launchers. Israel first looked into this purchase in 2008. They did not follow through with large orders but now have decided that LAW was the way to go based on their own recent battlefield experience and the American experience using LAW in Iraq and Afghanistan.

After 2001 the U.S. Army revived its 1970s era, LAW. The new LAW is more compact (51cm/20 inches long, 66mm/2.6 inches in diameter), lighter (3.5 kg/7.7 pounds) but not much cheaper (about $2,000 each). Its one kg (2.2 pound) warhead can still knock out light armored vehicles (and unarmored ones as well), but it most often used against enemy troops inside bunkers and buildings.

The LAW was revived because it has several advantages. It is compact, light and cheap. Since the 1980s the U.S. Department of Defense had bought several heavier and more expensive weapons to do what the LAW does. One example was the SMAW (Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon). This was a 7.7 kg (17 pound) Israeli design that was developed in response to the RPG. But the SMAW launcher costs $14,000, and each rocket costs more than their RPG equivalents (and are a bit more effective.) Actually, many troops have expressed an interest in just getting the RPG, which has a larger (1.7 kg/6 pound) warhead, and is a lot cheaper (the RPG launcher goes for about $500 each, brand new, and the more advanced rockets can be had for under a hundred dollars each). However, the compactness of the LAW, and better accuracy, does make a difference on the battlefield, and is considered worth the cost. The LAW is simple, light, easy-to-use and relatively cheap. It’s hard to improve on that, which is why the LAW is making a comeback. Actually, it never went away in many other armies.




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