March 18, 2006 The firepower that can be carried by one person rose to new levels this week when the United States Marines began testing an experimental weapon known as the M-32 Multiple shot Grenade Launcher. The M-32 weighs just six kilograms and is the latest in a long line of multi-shot, revolver-type, hand-held, grenade launchers from Milkor - a much earlier version was used against the aliens in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Predator - and it can deliver six 40mm grenades within three seconds with the benefits of an advanced sighting scope that allows a Marine to “follow” the grenade to the target and immediately adjust and follow up with a lethal volley of indirect fire over a 400 metre range. The kicker is that amongst the wide range of ammunition available to the M-32 is the MIE Direct Range Air-Consuming Ordnance (DRACO) Grenade. MIE’s brochure on the thermobaric DRACO says it all – “When you absolutely, positively need to eliminate the enemy!” One MIE DRACO will turn a building into rubble. With six DRACOs, the M-32 MGL might realign the way Marines operate at the small-team level. Fire teams could become more lethal, more mobile and more independent. The idea of a dedicated grenadier might just be reborn.
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