The M50 chemical launcher is a single shot 40mm grenade launcher that fires a special chemical grenade.
Development and Service History
The M50 was developed in the early 1960's as a defence tactic to deter major assaults on U.S bases in Vietnam. Unfortunately, once it was given the all green in 1975 (12 years after development was approved) the war was only weeks from ending. It never saw service in Vietnam, however, it was re-approved to be used by special forces during the cold war.
In 1986, the M50 retired from active service, being replaced by more conventional explosive and chemical weapons.
The 40mm shell projects a dangerous chemical which would effectively kill anyone within minutes of inhaling the gas. The weapon uses a unique open firing mechanism to launch the grenade, with the mail firing parts exposed. The grenade is placed on the launching platform and the firing rod is inserted into a slot at the back of the grenade. Once the trigger is pulled, a hammer in the firing rod detonates a small amount of explosive in the grenades rear, propelling the chemical container up to 50 metres. The grenade is triggered to arm after a set distance of flight, preventing any accidental deployments. Once it impacts, the grenade releases its contents of poisonous gas, and creates a cloud 10 metres wide.