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Platoon Weapons

Platoon Level Weapons

The Irish Army's infantry platoon consists of 31 soldiers and is commonly referred to as a Rifle Platoon. The Rifle Platoon is made up of three sections of nine soldiers each. A section is commanded by a corporal, and the platoon is commanded by a lieutenant or second lieutenant with a sergeant serving as his/her second in command (2IC) or 'platoon sergeant'.

While the platoon commander is responsible for commanding and controlling the platoon and providing the necessary leadership required to prepare for and to fight the battle, the platoon sergeant is responsible for administering the platoon and making all necessary combat service support arrangements to support the platoon commander's plan. This includes plans to deal with prisoners of war, casualties, resupply etc. He/she must also be prepared to take over leading the platoon if the platoon commander becomes injured.

At section level, every soldier is armed with the Steyr AUG Mod 14 assault rifle; a modern weapon system with an ACOG 4x magnification optical sight. Within the section, two soldiers will also carry an AT-4 short range anti-armour weapon known as the 'SRAAW';  two others will have 40mm M203 underslung grenade launchers attached to their rifles; and one soldier will carry a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) instead of a rifle. This firepower gives the platoon commander the capability to suppress and destroy the enemy from within the platoon's own resources. If the platoon commander requires greater firepower to complete the mission, he/she can request assistance from the company commander and will be allotted company level infantry light support weapons (ILSW) from the company's Weapons Platoon.

Steyr AUG

The Steyr Armee Universal Gewehr (AUG) meaning Army Universal Rifle entered service with the Irish Defence Forces in 1988. It fires a NATO standard 5.56mm round meaning soldiers can carry more ammunition than with previous service rifles. The weapon is of a 'bullpup' design which means the mechanism and magazine are located behind the trigger and pistol grip which reduces the overall length of the weapon without reducing the length of the barrel. The Steyr AUG is manufactured in Austria and is in service with many armies across the world such as Austria and Australia. In 2014 the Defence Forces began a modernisation programme to upgrade the Steyr AUG A1s. The upgrade included a complete refurbishment of the weapon and the addition of a long Picatinny rail along the top of the housing group, and the introduction of a Trijicon Advanced Combat Optical Gunsight (ACOG) with 4x magnification. The Mod 14 variant offers greater accuracy and the flexibility to add laser light modules for target designation and discrimination, night vision and thermal weapon sights, white light lamps etc. The upgrade has greatly extended the lifespan of the weapon.

Steyr AUG A1 Statistics
ManufacturerSteyr Daimler Puch
Weapon TypeSemi-Automatic Assault Rifle
Country of ManufactureAustria
Entered Service1988 with Mod 14 upgrade in 2014
Ammunition FeedMagazine Fed
Mode of FireSingle Shot and Automatic Fire
Rate of Fire600 - 800 rounds/min
SightTrijicon ACOG x4 magnification

Heckler & Koch USP

The USP (Universelle Selbstladepistole or "universal self-loading pistol") is a semi-automatic pistol developed in Germany by Heckler & Koch GmbH (H&K)The USP is a semi-automatic pistol with a mechanically locked breech using the short recoil method of operation.

Heckler & Koch USP Statistics
ManufacturerHeckler & Koch GmbH (H&K)
Weapon TypeSemi- Automatic Pistol
Country of ManufactureGermany
Entered Service2007
Semi-Automatic Range50m

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.

Steyr AUG A1 Statistics
ManufacturerSteyr Daimler Puch
Weapon TypeSemi-Automatic Assault Rifle
Country of ManufactureAustria
Entered Service1988
Ammunition FeedMagazine Fed
Mode of FireSingle Shot and Automatic Fire
Rate of Fire600 - 800 rounds/min
SightOptical x1.5 Magnification


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. The MAG is a highly versatile weapons system capable of delivering a significant weight of fire over an area known as a 'beaten zone'. The MAG provides the section commander with the ability to suppress the enemy, while he/she maneouvres the rest of the section in to assault and destroy. 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 ubiquitous in its service across the globe in many modern armies..

FN MAG General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) Statistics
ManufacturerFN Herstal
Weapon TypeLight Machine Gun
Country of ManufactureBelgium
Entered Service1964
Ammunition FeedBelt Fed
Mode of FireAutomatic Fire
Rate of Fire650 - 1000 rounds/min
SightRear Ramp Type


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
ManufacturerFFV Ordnance
Weapon TypeShort Range Anti-Armour Weapon
Country of ManufactureSweden
Entered Service1997
Ammunition FeedPreloaded Single Shot
Mode of FireSingle Shot
Rate of FireSingle Use
SightTwin Pop-up Plastic Sights