Infantry weapons / Recoilless rifles / M40

M40

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Recoilless rifle

  • ORIGIN
    United States

  • NICKNAMES
    10.6 cm rPAK M40A1 (Austria)
    Canon sin retroceso 106mm (Spain)
    Kanon, Rekylfri, 106mm (Norway)
    Type 51 (Taiwan)

  • DESIGNED
    Early 1950's

  • DESIGNER
    Watervliet Arsenal

  • PRODUCTION
    Mid 1950's - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Austria - Watervliet Arsenal
    China - Norinco
    India - OFB
    Iran - DIO
    South Korea - Kia
    Pakistan - PMT
    Spain - Santa Barbara
    United States - Watervliet Arsenal

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Good range
    Good firepower
    Average weight
    Large firing signature
    Limited rate of fire

Introduction

The M40 is a recoilless rifle of US origin. It was developed in the mid 1950's to replace the unsuccessful M27 developed several years earlier. Due to its excellent firepower, ample choice of ammunition types and good range the M40 was a very successful weapon. It was widely exported and although the use of recoilless rifles has reduced drastically world wide the M40 remains in widespread use.

Design

The M40 has a conventional design for a recoilless rifle. The M40 has a long rifled barrel, features side swiveling breech block, is attached to a tripod with a single castor wheel and is fitted with a 12.7mm spotting rifle. The M40 actually is a 105mm weapon but is designated a 106mm weapon in order to not accidentally load 105mm ammunition for the earlier M27. The M40 fires single piece ammunitions, of which many types are available.

Firepower

A wide variety of ammunition types is available for the M40 and each has its own effective range and performance. HEAT rounds can be considered the standard type of ammunition and are effective up to 1.350 meters and penetrate over 400mm RHA. Explosive rounds can be used up to 2 or 3 km and APERS rounds that fire flechettes up to 300 meters. The sustained rate of fire is 1 round per minute, although a rate of fire of 5 rpm can be attained for short periods.

Mobility

The M40 is generally used on a light vehicle due to its weight and due to its firing signature. However, the M40 on its tripod can be manhandled over short distances. The vehicle most often used to carry the M40 is the M151 Mutt, but a Land Rover Defender, Toyota Land Cruiser, BJ-2020 and other 4x4 vehicles are common as well. In some nations the M40 is also carried on armored personnel carriers such as the M113 or Casspir. The M50 Ontos was a US tank destroyer with 6 guns and the Japanese Type 60 had two M40's as armament.

Users

The M40 was used by the United States military and most European nations. Most have been replaced by guided missiles, making the M40 very uncommon in Western nations. The M40 remains in widespread use in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America. With the introduction of anti-tank missiles the M40 is often relegated to a secondary role and nowadays is mostly used as a support weapon for infantry operations.

Variants

M40

The M40 is one of the most successful recoilless rifles ever produced. Among the large caliber recoilless rifles it is by far the most common model. Several types of M40 have been produced. The M40, M40A1 and M40A2 are slightly improved production models and all use the original M79 heavy tripod with castor wheel. The M40A4 is a M40A2 that uses a lighter and more conventional M27 three leg tripod. Most M40 that are produced under license are similar to the US production models. The Austrian M40's were fitted on a two wheel carriage, allowing the M40 to be towed by a vehicle and more easily manhandled into a firing position.

TypeRecoilless rifle
Crew4 or 5
Caliber105 mm
Length3.404 m
Tube length2.692 m
Width800 mm legs closed, 1.524 mm legs open
Height1.118 mm
Weight209.5 kg
Firing arc360° traverse
SightsMechanical sight, 12.7mm M8C spotting rifle
AmmunitionVarious warheads available
Velocity?
PenetrationDepends on warhead, usually over 400mm RHA, up to 700mm RHA available
Range1.3 km for HEAT, 0.3 km for APERS, 2 to 3 km for HE, 7.7 km indirect range
Rate of fire5 rpm max, 1 rpm sustained
Remarks-
TypeRecoilless rifle
Crew4 or 5
Caliber105 mm
Length3.404 m
Tube length2.692 m
Width?
Height?
Weight?
Firing arc360° traverse
SightsMechanical sight, 12.7mm M8C spotting rifle
AmmunitionVarious warheads available
Velocity?
PenetrationDepends on warhead, usually over 400mm RHA, up to 700mm RHA available
Range1.3 km for HEAT, 0.3 km for APERS, 2 to 3 km for HE, 7.7 km indirect range
Rate of fire5 rpm max, 1 rpm sustained
Remarks-

Type 75

The 105mm Type 75 is a Chinese copy of the M40 and differs in minor details. The Type 75 is not fitted with a spotting rifle, an electronic fire control system with laser range finder is used instead. In Chinese service the Type 75 is carried on a modified BJ-2020S 4x4 jeep. A two part wind screen is fitted to allow the barrel to remain forwards when on the move. The vehicle carries 6 to 7 rounds of ammunition. If needed the Type 75 can be used away from the vehicle since a tripod similar to the US M79 is fitted.

TypeRecoilless rifle
Crew4 or 5
Caliber105 mm
Length3.409 m
Tube length?
Width?
Height?
Weight?
Firing arc360° traverse
SightsOptical sight, laser range finder, fire control computer
AmmunitionVarious warheads available
Velocity320 m/s HE, 503 m/s HEAT
PenetrationDepends on warhead
Range?
Rate of fire?
Remarks-

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