Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles
Appendix 4: Undesignated Vehicles
Copyright © 2005-2006 Andreas Parsch

Talley SMAW

The MK 153 SMAW (Shoulder-Launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon) is a 83 mm caliber portable rocket launcher based on the Isreal Military Industries (IMI) B-300 weapon. SMAW was fielded by the U.S. Marine Corps in 1984. The U.S. prime contractor and manufacturer of the SMAW is Talley Defense Systems.

Photo: via
MK 153 SMAW launcher
SMAW encased rocket

The reusable SMAW launcher is about 78 cm (30 in) long and weighs 7.5 kg (16.6 pounds). It is equipped with a 9 mm spotting rifle, and a mount for optical, night vision or laser aiming sights. The SMAW rockets are all packaged in a container tube, which is connected to the MK 153 launcher before firing and acts as an extension to the launch tube.

Several different types of rocket can be fired. The High-Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) Encased Rocket MK 3 MOD 0 is effective against unarmoured and lightly armoured targets, while the High-Explosive Anti-Armor (HEAA) Encased Rocket MK 6 MOD 0 can be used against heavy armour. Both rockets are stabilized by eight flip-out tail fins. Effective range against a small (1m x 2m) target is about 250 m (820 ft), while the figure against a tank-sized target is around 500 m (1640 ft). Unarmed training rockets include the Practice Rocket MK 4 MOD 0 and the Common Encased Practice Rocket MK 7 MOD 0.

Photo: via
SMAW rockets: MK 3 HEDP, MK 6 HEAA


The M141 SMAW-D, also referred to as Bunker Defeat Munition (BDM), is a disposable version of the MK 153. It fires the same MK 3 HEDP rockets as the MK 153 launcher, but has only about half the carry weight of a SMAW system. Minimum engagement range for the SMAW-D is not more than 15 m (50 ft). 6000 SMAW-D rounds were delivered to the U.S. Army in 1999, and the weapon has been used in Afghanistan.


After thermobaric weapons had been successfully employed during Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, the U.S. Marine Corps issued an urgent requirement for a thermobaric SMAW munition in 2002. Under the lead of the NSWC (Naval Surface Warfare Center) Indian Head, a suitable warhead was quickly developed, and the first SMAW-NE (NE = Novel Explosive) Encased Rocket MK 80 MOD 0 rounds were delivered to the USMC in early 2003. The weapon was subsequently used during the war Iraq, usually in conjunction with +conventional HEDP rounds. Because the SMAW-NE warhead lacked penetrating power, a HEDP round was fired to break a hole into a building, followed by a thermobaric round to destroy the interior. More than 1000 SMAW-NE rounds were purchased by the USMC, and as of October 2006, 3000 more are on order.


Note: Data given by several sources show slight variations. Figures given below may therefore be inaccurate!

Data for SMAW rockets MK 3 MOD 0 and MK 6 MOD 0:

 MK 3 MOD 0MK 6 MOD 0
Length56.1 cm (22.1 in)82.2 cm (32.4 in)
Diameter83 mm (3.27 in)
Weight4.2 kg (9.3 lb)4.5 kg (9.9 lb)
Range500 m (1640 ft)
PropulsionSolid-fueled rocket
WarheadHigh-explosive dual purposeHigh-explosive anti-armour

Main Sources

[1] Website

Back to Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, Appendix 4

Last Updated: 10 October 2006