Country of origin
2005 (?) (see below)
350 m (?)
Range of effective fire (against tanks)
300 mm RHAe
The MARA is
a disposable anti-tank rocket weapon designed by CITEFA, and is
manufactured by the Fray Luis Beltrán munition factory. It holds the
distinction of being designed, developed, funded, and produced
entirely in Argentina.
The exact origins of the MARA are unclear from published
literature, but the program was initiated in the mid-1990s, and the
first operational test-firings of the weapon were conducted in 2005.
The design requirements were that the weapon had to be made with
simple and readily-available materials and technologies, incorporate
R&D capabilities Argentina already had available, have a lower unit
cost than comparable foreign weapons, have a high
cost-effectiveness, and provide a personal anti-tank capability to
every soldier in the field. It is implied by some sources that the
MARA also entered service later in 2005, but given how long it took
the program to proceed from approval to the first launch, achieving
fully-operational status during the same year is highly implausible;
it is more likely that the MARA achieved operational status between
2005 and 2010.
The MARA is extremely similar in appearance to the
(see the entry on that weapon for more details), although its
proportions differ slightly. Though unlike the LAW, the sling
swivels on the MARA are both mounted on the underside of the outer
tube, eliminating the need for the user to detach the sling from the
muzzle cover when preparing to fire. Most MARAs are painted sand or
olive drab in color, or in a drylands camouflage pattern, and have
white stenciling and decals that include safety guides and the
The composition of the MARA is comparable to most other
disposable anti-tank rocket weapons, with a reinforced fiberglass
tube, steel muzzle and venturi caps and sights, and various minor
components made from lightweight metal or plastic.
The sights used on the MARA consist of a similar front post
and rear ladder to those used on the M72 LAW. The sighting range is
unpublished, but probably similar to that of the LAW (350 meters),
due to the similar performance of the MARA's rocket.
The 73 mm rocket used in the MARA is similar to the 66 mm
rocket used in the M72 LAW. The warhead also penetrates the same 300
mm of Rolled Homogenous Armor (RHA) as the LAW rocket, despite the
MARA's larger warhead. The rocket is similar in shape to that used
in the LAW as well, and has 6 folding fins that spring into a radial
cluster as the projectile leaves the tube. The projectile is
reportedly quite accurate, and can consistently hit a one
square-meter target at a distance of 200 m. A training round is also
provided for the MARA, and an empty tube may be loaded with one,
reportedly up to five times.
The operation of the MARA also appears to be the same as that
of the M72 LAW, although the sling remains fastened to the weapon.
According to the manufacturer, the MARA is operable inside a
temperature range of -20°C to +50°C.
The MARA has never been launched in anger, and due to the
relatively stable current political atmosphere in southern South
America, it is unlikely to see combat use at any point in the
foreseeable future. The only operator at present is Argentina, and
due to the MARA's low performance (and the unusually large size and
weight for a weapon of that level of performance), it is also
unlikely to ever achieve any export sales. The market is inundated
with many other weapons of the same class that have much greater
capability, most of which probably cost less as well, due to being
In short, the MARA seems to have been a significant
misadventure. It was likely developed (as with many other weapons in
the Developing World) simply as a "jobs program" to keep the ailing
national arms industry funded, with competitive performance not
being a consideration. While it certainly generated more business
for CITEFA, it will be Argentina's citizens and military that pay
the price in the long run, as Argentina is now acquiring the
anti-tank weapon, and will likely have to do so in adequate numbers
to replace the MARA. Thus, for an indigenous weapon that ultimately
the price of two, Argentina will have one --- and it will be the
M72 LAW: US
66 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher. This weapon was the
first weapon of its type since the Panzerfaust of World War 2. This
weapon strongly influenced the design of the MARA, but it was
obsolete for more than two decades before the program that produced
the MARA was initiated.
FGR-17 Viper: US 70 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher. The
Viper was supposed to replace the M72 LAW, but due to poor project
management the effort ended in disaster, and the US military ended
up buying the
(a licensed US-made version of the Swedish
disposable anti-tank recoilless gun) instead.
RPG-18 Mukha: Soviet 64 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher.
Like the M72 LAW, the RPG-18 was not entirely satisfactory (and not
powerful enough to reliably defeat many NATO tanks then in service),
and was gradually supplanted by more powerful weapons. It has also
infamously accused of being a knock-off of the M72 LAW.
M79 Osa: Yugoslav 64 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher.
It very strongly resembles the RPG-18 in form and function, and may
be a derivative.
RPG-22: Soviet 78 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher.
This weapon was meant to replace the RPG-18, but became obsolete
before it could even complete its development. The much larger (and
decidedly more satisfactory) RPG-26 quickly superseded it, and the
RPG-22 was only produced for about 10 years by the former Soviet
Union. Interestingly, it has an identical bore to the MARA, but
penetrates 350 mm of RHA instead of 300 mm.
French 68 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher. Like the
the SARPAC arrived too late to be a viable product, and only a few
nations bought it.
Miniman: Swedish 74 mm disposable anti-tank recoilless gun. This
was another weapon in this class that entered service just as it
became obsolete. Though like the RPG-22, it also penetrates 350 mm
of RHA, opposed to 300 mm of the MARA.
Armbrust: German 67 mm disposable anti-tank rocket launcher.
While not especially powerful compared to its contemporaries, the
Armbrust still boasted a countermass and a muzzle/venturi sealing
system that almost completely eliminate the smoke, flash, noise, and
backblast from the launch.
Wasp 58: French 58 mm disposable multi-purpose rocket
launcher. Unlike the above weapons, the Wasp 58 was *intended* to be
smaller and weaker than its competitors, so that a lighter, cheaper,
and more versatile weapon could be made. With over 450 000 sold to
over a half-dozen nations, that formula proved astonishingly