Platoon Level Weapons

In the Irish Army a platoon is an infantry unit sometimes referred to as a Rifle Platoon. The Rifle Platoon is made up of 3 sections of 9 soldiers, each of which is commanded by a Corporal. The platoon is commanded by a Lieutenant (or Second Lieutenant) with a Platoon Sergeant acting as Second in Command (2I/C). In a fire fight the Platoon Commander will rely primarily on the fire power available within the platoon. The weapons within the platoon range from the Steyr AUG, personal weapon of every Irish soldier, to the disposable anti-tank weapon the SRAAW. If this fire power proves insufficient the Platoon Commander can request assistance from the Company Commander

Steyr AUG

The Steyr Armee Universal Gewehr (AUG) meaning "Army Universal Rifle" was introduced into service in the Defence Forces during 1988. The weapon has a calibre of 5.56mm which allows the soldier to carry twice as much ammunition as before and it utilises the "Bullpup" design in which the mechanism and magazine are located behind the trigger. This design increases the barrel length relative to the overall weapon length, thus permitting shorter weapons for the same barrel length. The smaller calibre 5.56mm cartridge became popular after international studies showed that soldiers rarely engage an enemy at ranges greater than 300 metres with small arms. This reduced the need for more powerful cartridges.  The Steyr AUG A1 is manufactured in Austria by Steyr Daimler Puch and is the standard service rifle of Austria, Australia, New Zealand and Luxembourg. It is also issued to the U.S. Customs Service, and Philippines elite Scout Rangers among others.

Steyr AUG A1 Statistics
Manufacturer Steyr Daimler Puch
Weapon Type Semi-Automatic Assault Rifle
Country of Manufacture Austria
Entered Service 1988
Calibre 5.56mm
Ammunition Feed Magazine Fed
Weight 3.6kg
Mode of Fire Single Shot and Automatic Fire
Range 600m
Rate of Fire 600 - 800 rounds/min
Length 790mm
Sight Optical x1.5 Magnification

M203 Grenade Launcher

The M203 has a primary role of supporting the infantry section. It is an under-slung 40 mm low velocity grenade weapon system permanently attached to the Steyr Rifle with a separate sighting and trigger mechanism. The weapon can fire a wide variety of ammunition types including High Explosive, Smoke and Illumination. The M203 can provide effective fire out to 350 metres. The M203 can be used to engage soft skinned vehicles, fortified buildings and enemy troops in the open. With a capability of penetrating up to 90 mm of rolled homogenous armour it can also engage light armour.

M203 Grenade Launcher Statistics
Manufacturer Diemaco
Weapon Type Grenade Launcher
Country of Manufacture Canada
Entered Service
Calibre 40mm
Ammunition Feed Breach Loaded
Weight 2.15kg
Mode of Fire Single Shot
Range 400m
Rate of Fire 5 to 7 rounds/min
Length 305mm
Sight Iron Sight

GPMG

Today the Defence Forces use the Fabrique Nationale Mitrailleuses D'Appui General (FN MAG) 58 in the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) role. Its calibre is 7.62mm and has an effective range of 200 - 1800 metres. The MAG is a belt-fed, gas-operated light machine gun. It is air-cooled and has a barrel designed for quick-change by its 2 man crew. One key benefit of using the MAG is that it is extremely easy to maintain. In fact it can be disassembled in 10 seconds by an experienced soldier. This greatly enhances its reliability in the field. The GPMG is normally mounted on a bipod, but it can be used in a sustained fire role, mounted on a tripod. The GPMG can also be seen mounted on the MOWAG armoured personnel carrier and other armoured vehicles. The MAG is used by many nations worldwide and has served in conflicts from The Gulf War to the Falklands.

FN MAG General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) Statistics
Manufacturer FN Herstal
Weapon Type Light Machine Gun
Country of Manufacture Belgium
Entered Service 1964
Calibre 7.62mm
Ammunition Feed Belt Fed
Weight 10.9kg
Mode of Fire Automatic Fire
Range 1800m
Rate of Fire 650 - 1000 rounds/min
Length 1260mm
Sight Rear Ramp Type

AT4 SRAAW

The Anti-Tank-4 Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon (AT4 SRAAW) was introduced into the Defence Forces in 1997. The SRAAW is a recoilless, preloaded disposable weapon with a reliable and safe firing mechanism. Designed to withstand the tough conditions of the battlefield, the SRAAW is a low maintenance weapon with a very long shelf life. It can be used in all terrain and climatic conditions without losing effectiveness. The SRAAW fires a High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) round ideal for destroying enemy Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) and bunker positions.

AT4 SRAAW Statistics
Manufacturer FFV Ordnance
Weapon Type Short Range Anti-Armour Weapon
Country of Manufacture Sweden
Entered Service 1997
Calibre 84mm
Ammunition Feed Preloaded Single Shot
Weight 6.7Kg
Mode of Fire Single Shot
Range 400m
Rate of Fire Single Use
Length 1010mm
Sight Twin Pop-up Plastic Sights

Read More about Company Level Weapons