The MAW is a Anti-Armor Infantry weapon that can be used from extreme range. It was designed from the bottom up to penetrate an armor shell and kill the pilot inside without notably damaging the armor itself. Originally created to only carry biological payloads, it was quickly realised that IRIS shells could have a much broader array of possible payloads.
The MAW (Mutagenic Assault Weapon) is a custom-made rifle that appears to be a oversized dart gun or sniper rifle. It was designed as a solution to power armor's effectiveness in screening chemical and biological agents. This is accomplished by having the shells break through the exterior of the armor, upon reaching the interior releasing a payload while optionally continuing to bore until energy is depleted. The ammo designed for this purpose is the Integrated Retroviral Infusion System (IRIS).
The MAW (Mutagenic Assault Weapon) is named for the fact it is one of if not the only bioweapon currently in service in the known universe.
The IRIS does not refer directly to the gun but the ammo specially designed for it. The IRIS (Integrated Retroviral Infusion System) is named for the way it has an integrated deployment mechanism, the fact it was originally designed to carry retroviruses and deploy them into the enemy combatant.
The MAW appears as a large anti-material rifle with designs aesthetically similar to that of Nepleslia. A rail for optics can be seen above as well as divets on either side to mount more rails or attachments. A bipod can be mounted to the front for long range shots as well as a small stand at the rear. Holes can be seen in the barrel, while the gun is powered by compressed air, these holes prevent the internal pressure differential from tearing the barrel apart.
As the weapon needs only be powered by compressed air due to the aerodynamic nature of each IRIS round as well as the reduced weight from being hollow, the recoil and sound of the rifle are minimal. This allows excellent stealth as well as the potential to rapid fire between targets with considerably more accuracy than recoil-heavy weapons.
The ammunition used for the MAW is the IRIS round. These shells are designed to bypass the protection afforded by power armor via massive armor piercing potential. Once the corrosive-tipped shells bury themselves in the metal on impact, the payload is released into the pilot therein.
The main firing mechanisms for this weapon are the air compressor, which gives a primary propulsion to the ammo fired and the ammo selection system, which gives the operator the ability to change between the different shells in a magazine on the fly as long as the operator keeps a mental note on what remains. While the weapon can be changed to automatic fire with decent RPM, this is generally ill advised. As many operators load varying shells into one magazine, emptying the magazine into a general area can cause very unwanted side effects. Incindiary rounds may set the surroundings alight, acid may be aerosolised and damage friendly units and worst, incredibly harmful biological agents may be released uncontained into the local area.