Defence Policy

Poland Procures Thousands of Single-Use Grenade Launchers

M72 LAW operated by the US Army.
Photo. US Marine Corps (DVIDS).

Head of the Polish MoD, Mariusz Błaszczak, unexpectedly announced via his Twitter account that Poland has procured several thousand light M72 EC Mk 1 anti-tank grenade launchers. The aforesaid weapon was among several designs offered in the Grot procurement programme.

“More good news for the Polish military. We have signed an agreement on the delivery of several thousand M72 EC MK1 light, single-use grenade launchers. It is a modern weapons system designed to act against combat vehicles, including heavy armour, such as MBTs", the Minister wrote.

So far, no information has been made available on the potential industrial cooperation that could be a part of this deal, the manufacturing of this simple weapons system, or the delivery schedule. Notably, back in 2017, the Nowa Dęba-based DEZAMET company has been offering the M72 LAW system, proposing license manufacturing of that system as well. The current agreement meanwhile, has been signed directly with Nammo Raufoss AS.

According to Krzysztof Płatek, spokesman for the Armament Agency, several thousand grenade launchers are to be delivered shortly, constituting the first phase of the Grot programme. The selection was motivated by time, probably. The first stage implemented now is aimed at rapid reinforcement of the anti-tank potential of the Polish Armed Forces, Płatek stated.

The M72 has been among several designs offered in the Grot programme. Modern grenade launchers capable of destroying modern armour are among the weapons the Polish Armed Forces were in shortage of for decades, yet the commissioning would be relatively inexpensive. It could have happened a long time ago, the same applies to domestic manufacturing. So far this did not happen, for unknown reasons, and the Polish military has been using the obsolete RPG-7 family systems. Even in the case of the RPG-7, no effort has been made to upgrade the munitions, to the standard that would be lethal when used against ERA-protected MBTs.

M72 EC Mk 1 (EC standing for Enhanced Capability) manufactured by Nammo can penetrate more than 450 mm of armor. During the test firings at Nowa Dęba, 500 mm armor was penetrated. The weapon is compact, it weighs 3.5 kilograms, and offers an effective range of 350 meters.