VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (December 9, 2015) – After a recent full-open bid competition, ADS, Inc., a local Virginia Beach, Virginia company, was awarded the contract to provide the latest modification of the Mark 153, shoulder-launched, multi-purpose assault weapon (SMAW) rocket launcher for the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) for use by the United States Marine Corps (USMC). This contract for the SMAW Mod 2 replaces the original design for this portable rocket launcher.

Touting an unloaded weight of approximately 16 pounds, the original weapon was developed in the early 1980s as a U.S. Marine-specific, portable anti-armor rocket launcher. The system consisted of the MK153 Mod 0 rocket launcher, MK3 high explosive, dual purpose (HEDP) encased rocket, MK4 practice rocket and the MF 217, 9mm spotting cartridge. Additionally, the high explosive anti-armor (HEAA) and follow-through grenade (FTG) were added to the arsenal of warheads that could be launched from the weapons system.

The SMAW Mod 0 utilized an aiming mechanism that required a significant amount of time to accurately engage targets, posing significant threat to the operator when used in hostile environments. The new modification addresses the issues associated with the existing 9mm spotting rifle to aim the rocket launcher by replacing it with a modular ballistic sight (MBS). The MBS, mounted on the SMAW Mod 2, reduces the amount of time required to engage targets by allowing operators to acquire targets rapidly through the latest thermal and range-finding technologies. Improvements in weapon design have also made the SMAW Mod 2 considerably lighter, thereby reducing the load for the warfighter while still maintaining the same warhead versatility as its predecessor.

The Marine Corps released a solicitation for a SMAW Mod 2 production contract, January 2015. ADS partnered with L-3 Communications and Wegmann, USA, Inc. to bid on a formal full and open request for proposal for the replacement of the SMAW weapons system for MARCORSYSCOM. ADS was awarded the five-year, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, $72 million contract, October 23, 2015.

The weapon assembly will be manufactured in Lynchburg, Va. by Wegmann, USA. The MBS electronics will be provided by L-3. ADS will provide the final integration of the electronics and weapon assembly into a complete SMAW mod 2 system.

“It’s important to highlight, while ADS is the single award on this contract, we were successful because we brought two great and innovative companies together, L-3 and Wegmann, to develop a great product,” said Grant Sherfick, ADS, Inc. Weapons & Optics market manager. “With these improvements and the superior technology of the MBS, the SMAW Mod 2 is the most technologically advanced rocket launcher in the United States inventory.”

ADS, Inc. is a leading solutions provider that proudly serves all branches of the U.S. Military, federal, state and local government organizations, law enforcement agencies, first responders, partner nations and the defense industry. The weapons and optics team at ADS understands the importance of having access to critical components and equipment required to effectively maintain, upgrade and secure military commands’ weapon systems. This latest contract is another demonstration of ADS’ ability to integrate partner capabilities to best serve its customers. Overall, ADS is focused on solving customers’ challenges through the largest product and service offerings, the broadest array of procurement and contract options, world-class support and logistics solutions and legendary customer service. To learn more, please visit the ADS website at