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The M202 FLASH is a quad mounted shoulder launched Bazooka of US origin. It was intended to replace Flamethrowers. It is currently in service in South Korea and the United States.

Description[]

US soldier aims the M202A2 FLASH grenade launcher / flamethrower, circa 1991

The M202A1 features four tubes that can load 66 mm incendiary rockets. The M74 rockets are equipped with M235 warheads, containing approximately 1.34 pounds (0.61 kg) of an incendiary agent. The substance, often mistaken for napalm, is in fact thickened pyrophoric agent (TPA).

TPA is triethylaluminum (TEA) thickened with polyisobutylene. TEA, an organometallic compound, is pyrophoric and burns spontaneously at temperatures of 1200°C (2192°F) when exposed to air. It burns "white hot" because of the aluminum, much hotter than gasoline or napalm. The light and heat emission is very intense and can produce skin burns from some (close) distance without direct contact with the flame, by thermal radiation alone.

As the caliber is shared with the contemporary M72 LAW antitank rocket launcher, it would have been theoretically possible to fire HEAT anti-tank rockets in lieu of the incendiary payload, and the XM191 was in fact capable of this. In the event, no such round was ever developed for the M202.

The weapon is meant to be fired from the right shoulder, and can be fired from either a standing, crouching, or prone position. It has a trigger mode to facilitate firing all four rockets at once, not just one at a time. After firing, it can be reloaded with a clip housing four rockets.

The M202A1 was rated as having a 50% chance of hit against the following targets at the noted ranges:

  • Bunker aperture: 50 meters
  • Window: 125 meters
  • Weapons position or stationary vehicle: 200 meters
  • Squad-sized troop formation: 500 meters

The 50% hit chance assumed all four rockets fired at the same time.

Operators[]

Specifications[]

  • US soldier aims the M202A1 FLASH grenade launcher / flamethrower, possibly during the Vietnam War

    Caliber: 66 mm
  • Type: Rocket Launcher
  • Overall length: 686 mm empty launcher, 883 mm loaded with clip
  • Weight: 5.22 kg unloaded, 12 kg loaded with clip of 4 rockets
  • Effective range: up to 200 m (750 m maximum)

See also[]

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