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RPG-7 Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher (1961)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/23/2014
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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
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: 950 mm (37.40 in)
Barrel Length: 0.00 mm (0.00 in)
Weight (Empty): 17.42 lb (7.90 kg)

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

* Listed caliber(s) for firearms may be model dependent if more than one model type/chambering was produced. Always consult official manufacturer's information or a licensed dealer.

Variants: [ SHOW / HIDE ]

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