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RPG-7 Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher (1961)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 11/21/2013

The famous RPG-7 is in use with over 40 countries.

The RPG-7 was the Soviet-produced follow-up in the RPG family series of man-portable, anti-tank rocket launchers unveiled in the Cold War. The RPG designation is often referred to as "Rocket Propelled Grenade" but the designation formally stands for "Ruchnoy Protivotankoviy Granatomet" meaning "Hand-held Anti-tank Grenade Launcher". The RPG-series itself can trace its roots back to the American Bazooka and German Panzerfaust anti-tank rocket launcher systems developed and used to good effect in World War 2. The RPG-7 system is relatively inexpensive-to-produce and an easy-to-operate, one-man, single-shot anti-tank weapon system designed to disrupt armor at close ranges. The weapon is designed in a plethora of variants and is a favorite of fast-moving guerilla outfits needing a "shoot-and-scoot" capability.

The RPG-7, itself, is a further development of past RPG variations (from the RPG-2, RPG-3 and RPG-4). It can fire a variety of warheads including fragmentation, HEAT and high-explosive rounds. Sighting is traditional through static sights but optics can be fitted to the firing tube if needed. Not surprisingly, the RPG is a favorite guerilla weapon in many of the former Soviet-supported satellite states including Iraq and Afghanistan. It is produced in no fewer than a dozen countries (with China producing a localized copy as the Type 69) and can be found in the military inventories of nearly 40 countries worldwide.

Its effectiveness is not necessarily in the ability to stop armored vehicles but moreso in the shock and disruption value afforded to such a compact weapon system (the airborne variant designated as the RPG-7D is designed to be broken down into sections for the compact-minded paratrooper). The resulting "back blast" of the rocket firing is also relatively minimal, allowing the weapon to be fired from enclosed spaces as well covered positions outdoors. The operation of the RPG-7 system itself is somewhat basic, requiring little training on the part of the user. However, the role they have played in warfare since their inception - particularly in urban settings across Iraq - has been largely documented and showcases their effectiveness.

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Specifications for the
RPG-7
Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher


Country of Origin: Soviet Union
Manufacturer: Bazalt - Russia; Defense Industries Organization - Iran; Airtronic USA, Incorporated - USA
Initial Year of Service: 1961


Overall Length: 950mm (37.40in)
Barrel Length: 0.00mm (0.00in)
Weight (Empty): 17.42lbs (7.90kg)


Caliber: 40mm
Action: Shoulder-Fired Tube Launched
Feed: 1
Rate-of-Fire: 4 rounds per minute
Range: 984ft (300m; 328yds)


Variants:
RPG-7V1 - Base Production Model Designation


RPG-7V - Single-stage HEAT projectile; up to 330mm penetration.

RPG-7VL - Single-stage HEAT projectile; up to 500mm penetration; anti-vehicle and anti-fortification.

RPG-VR - Tandem HEAT projectile; up to 600-700mm penetration; heavy-armored targets including reactive armor.

OG-7V - Fragmentation Projectile; 23ft effective range; anti-personnel.

TBG-7V - Single-stage thermobaric projectile; 33ft effective range; anti-personnel; urban usage.

RPG-7V2 - Current RPG-7 Model in use

RPG-7D3 - Paratrooper Model

Type 69 RPG - Chinese Production Designation

RPG-7USA - US designation; Picatinny Rails

B-41 - Cambodian and Vietnamese Designation


Operators:
Armenia; Afghanistan; Algeria; Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Cuba; Cyprus; Egypt; Indonesia; Iran; Iraq; Ireland; Israel; Kazakhstan; Laos; Lebanon; Libya; Malaysia; Malta; Mexico; Myanmar; Mongolia; North Korea; Pakistan; Peru; Philippines; Russia; South Africa; Soviet Union; Sudan; Syria; Vietnam