RPG-7

RPG-7

Overview
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched
Shoulder-launched missile weapon
A shoulder-fired missile, shoulder-launched missile or man-portable missile is a projectile fired at a target, small enough to be carried by a single person, and fired while held on one's shoulder...

, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 (Ручной Противотанковый Гранатомёт - Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot, Hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher) and its predecessor, the RPG-2
RPG-2
The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union.-Development:The RPG-2 , was a man-portable, shoulder-launched rocket-propelled grenade anti-armor weapon...

, were designed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and now manufactured by the Bazalt
Bazalt
Weapons manufacturing company in Russia that took over or continued the production of weapons such as the RPG-7 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and today manufactures the RPG-7V2 and the RPG-29.From the English page of the company website:...

 company. The weapon has the GRAU index 6G3.

The ruggedness, simplicity, low cost, and effectiveness of the RPG-7 has made it the most widely used anti-tank weapon in the world.
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Encyclopedia
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched
Shoulder-launched missile weapon
A shoulder-fired missile, shoulder-launched missile or man-portable missile is a projectile fired at a target, small enough to be carried by a single person, and fired while held on one's shoulder...

, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 (Ручной Противотанковый Гранатомёт - Ruchnoy Protivotankovyy Granatomyot, Hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher) and its predecessor, the RPG-2
RPG-2
The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union.-Development:The RPG-2 , was a man-portable, shoulder-launched rocket-propelled grenade anti-armor weapon...

, were designed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, and now manufactured by the Bazalt
Bazalt
Weapons manufacturing company in Russia that took over or continued the production of weapons such as the RPG-7 after the collapse of the Soviet Union and today manufactures the RPG-7V2 and the RPG-29.From the English page of the company website:...

 company. The weapon has the GRAU index 6G3.

The ruggedness, simplicity, low cost, and effectiveness of the RPG-7 has made it the most widely used anti-tank weapon in the world. Currently around 40 countries use the weapon, and it is manufactured in a number of variant
Variant
Variant is a free cultural magazine based in Glasgow, Scotland, and founded in 1984. Available in both print and internet editions, it is distributed mainly though arts and cultural institutions through Britain and Ireland. Although nominally an arts and cultural bulletin, the magazine also deals...

s by nine countries. It is also popular with irregular
Irregular military
Irregular military refers to any non-standard military. Being defined by exclusion, there is significant variance in what comes under the term. It can refer to the type of military organization, or to the type of tactics used....

 and guerrilla forces
Guerrilla warfare
Guerrilla warfare is a form of irregular warfare and refers to conflicts in which a small group of combatants including, but not limited to, armed civilians use military tactics, such as ambushes, sabotage, raids, the element of surprise, and extraordinary mobility to harass a larger and...

. The RPG has been used in almost all conflicts across all continents since the mid-1960s from the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to the present day War in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

.

The most commonly seen major variations are the RPG-7D paratrooper
Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force.Paratroopers are used for tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land...

 model (able to be broken into two parts for easier carrying), and the lighter Chinese Type 69 RPG
Type 69 RPG
The Type 69 85mm rocket propelled grenade , made by Norinco, is a Chinese copy of the famous RPG-7 developed by the Soviet Union. First introduced in the early 1970s, the Type 69 RPG is a common individual anti-tank weapon in service with the PLA...

. DIO
Defense Industries Organization
The Defense Industries Organization The Defense Industries Organization The Defense Industries Organization (DIO; Persian: Sasadjah (Sazemane Sanaye Defa) is a conglomerate of companies run by the Islamic Republic of Iran whose function is to provide the military of Iran with the necessary...

 of Iran manufactures RPG-7s with olive green handguards, H&K
Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch GmbH is a German defense manufacturing company that produces various small arms. Some of their products include the SA80, MP5 submachine gun, G3 automatic rifle, the G36 assault rifle, the HK 416, the MP7 personal defense weapon, the USP series of handguns, and the high-precision...

 pistol grips, and a Commando variant.

The RPG-7 was first delivered to the Soviet Army in 1961 and deployed at a squad level. It replaced the RPG-2, having clearly out-performed the intermediate RPG-4 design during testing. The current model produced by Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 is the RPG-7V2, capable of firing standard and dual high explosive anti-tank
High explosive anti-tank
High explosive anti-tank warheads are made of an explosive shaped charge that uses the Munroe effect to create a very high-velocity partial stream of metal in a state of superplasticity that can punch through solid armor....

 (HEAT) rounds
Cartridge (firearms)
A cartridge, also called a round, packages the bullet, gunpowder and primer into a single metallic case precisely made to fit the firing chamber of a firearm. The primer is a small charge of impact-sensitive chemical that may be located at the center of the case head or at its rim . Electrically...

, high explosive/fragmentation
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

, and thermobaric
Thermobaric weapon
A thermobaric weapon, which includes the type known as a "fuel-air bomb", is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of...

 warhead
Warhead
The term warhead refers to the explosive material and detonator that is delivered by a missile, rocket, or torpedo.- Etymology :During the early development of naval torpedoes, they could be equipped with an inert payload that was intended for use during training, test firing and exercises. This...

s (see below), with a UP-7V sighting device
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

 fitted (used in tandem with the standard 2.7x PGO-7 optical sight
Telescopic sight
A telescopic sight, commonly called a scope, is a sighting device that is based on an optical refracting telescope. They are equipped with some form of graphic image pattern mounted in an optically appropriate position in their optical system to give an accurate aiming point...

) to allow the use of extended range ammunition. The RPG-7D3 is the equivalent paratrooper model. Both the RPG-7V2 and RPG-7D3 were adopted by the Russian Ground Forces
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

 in 2001.

Description


The launcher is reloadable and based around a simple steel tube, 40 millimeters in diameter, 95.3 centimeters long, and weighing 7 kilograms. The middle of the tube is wood wrapped to protect the user from heat and the end is flared to assist in blast shielding and recoil reduction. Sighting is usually optical with a back-up iron sight
Iron sight
Iron sights are a system of shaped alignment markers used as a sighting device to assist in the aiming of a device such as a firearm, crossbow, or telescope, and exclude the use of optics as in telescopic sights or reflector sights...

, and passive infra-red and night sights are also available.

As with similar weapons, the grenade protrudes from the launch tubes. It is 40-105 millimeters in diameter and weighs between 2.5 and 4.5 kilograms. It is launched by a gunpowder
Gunpowder
Gunpowder, also known since in the late 19th century as black powder, was the first chemical explosive and the only one known until the mid 1800s. It is a mixture of sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate - with the sulfur and charcoal acting as fuels, while the saltpeter works as an oxidizer...

 booster charge, giving it an initial speed of 115 meters per second, and creating a cloud of light grey-blue smoke. The rocket
Rocket
A rocket is a missile, spacecraft, aircraft or other vehicle which obtains thrust from a rocket engine. In all rockets, the exhaust is formed entirely from propellants carried within the rocket before use. Rocket engines work by action and reaction...

 motor ignites after 10 meters and sustains flight out to 500 meters at a maximum velocity of 295 meters per second. The grenade is stabilized by two sets of fins that deploy in-flight: one large set on the stabilizer pipe to maintain direction and a smaller front set to induce rotation. The grenade can fly up to 1,100 meters; the fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

 sets the maximum range, usually 920 meters.

Propulsion system



According to the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
Established 1 July 1973, the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command is an army command of the United States Army headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia. It is charged with overseeing training of Army forces, the development of operational doctrine, and the development and procurement of...

 (TRADOC) Bulletin 3u (1977) Soviet RPG-7 Antitank Grenade Launcher—Capabilities and Countermeasures, the RPG-7 munition has 2 sections: a "booster" section and a "warhead and sustainer motor" section. These must be assembled into the ready-to-use grenade. The booster consists of a "small strip powder charge" that serves to propel the grenade out of the launcher, the sustainer motor ignites and propels the grenade for the next few seconds, reaching a speed of 294 meters per second. The TRADOC bulletin provides anecdotal commentary that the RPG-7 has been fired from within buildings, which agrees with the two-stage design. It is stated that only a 2-meter standoff to a rear obstruction is needed for use inside rooms or fortifications. The fins not only provide drag stabilization, but are designed to impart a slow rotation to the grenade.

Due to the configuration of the RPG-7 sustainer/warhead section, it responds counter-intuitively to crosswinds. A crosswind will tend to exert pressure on the stabilizing fins, causing the projectile to turn into the wind. While the rocket motor is still burning, this will cause the flight path to curve into the wind. The TRADOC bulletin explains aiming difficulties for more distant moving targets in crosswinds at some length.

Ammunition


The RPG-7 can fire a variety of warheads for anti-armor (HEAT
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

, PG-Protivotankovaya Granata) or anti-personnel (HE, OG-Oskolochnaya Granata) purposes, usually fitting with an impact (PIBD) and a 4.5 second fuze
Fuze
Fuze Beverage, commercially referred to as just Fuze , is a manufacturer of teas and non-carbonated fruit drinks enriched with vitamins. Currently the brand consists of five vitamin-infused lines: Slenderize, Refresh, Tea, Defensify, and Vitalize...

. Armor penetration is warhead dependent and ranges from 30 to 60 centimeters of RHA
Rolled homogeneous armour
Rolled homogeneous armour is a type of steel which is used to armour vehicles.-Composition:Armoured steel must be hard yet impervious to shock in order to resist high velocity metal projectiles. Steel with these characteristics is produced by processing cast steel billets of appropriate size and...

; one warhead, the PG-7VR
PG-7VR
The PG-7VR is a tandem charge RPG warhead designed to penetrate up to 600 mm rolled homogeneous armour equivalence of explosive reactive armor and the conventional armor underneath...

, is a 'tandem charge' device, used to defeat reactive armor with a single shot.

Current production ammunition for the RPG-7V2 consists of four types:
  • PG-7VL standard HEAT warhead for most vehicles and fortified targets (93 mm)
  • PG-7VR dual HEAT warhead for defeating modern heavily armored vehicles equipped with reactive armor (105mm)
  • TBG-7V thermobaric
    Thermobaric weapon
    A thermobaric weapon, which includes the type known as a "fuel-air bomb", is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of...

     warhead for anti-personnel and urban warfare (105 mm)
  • OG-7V fragmentation warhead for anti-personnel warfare (within caliber due to limitations of international treaties)

Specifications


Manufacturer specifications for the RPG-7V1.

Name Type Weight Explosive Weight Diameter Penetration Lethal radius
PG-7V Single-stage HEAT
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

2.2 kg (4.85 lb) 85 mm (3.35 in) > 260 mm RHA (10.24 in)
PG-7VL Single-stage HEAT
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

2.6 kg (5.7 lb) 730 g окфол (95% HMX + 5% wax) 93 mm (3.65 in) > 500 mm RHA (19.5 in)
PG-7VR Tandem HEAT
Heat
In physics and thermodynamics, heat is energy transferred from one body, region, or thermodynamic system to another due to thermal contact or thermal radiation when the systems are at different temperatures. It is often described as one of the fundamental processes of energy transfer between...

4.5 kg (9.9 lb) ?/1.43 kg окфол (95% HMX + 5% wax) 64 mm/105 mm (2.52 in/4.13 in) 600 mm RHA
(with reactive armor)
750 mm RHA
(without reactive armor)
OG-7V Fragmentation
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...

2 kg (4 lb) 210 g (0.46 lb) A-IX-1 40 mm (1.6 in) 7 m (23 ft)
(vs. body armor)
TBG-7V Single-stage thermobaric
Thermobaric weapon
A thermobaric weapon, which includes the type known as a "fuel-air bomb", is an explosive weapon that produces a blast wave of a significantly longer duration than those produced by condensed explosives. This is useful in military applications where its longer duration increases the numbers of...

4.5 kg (9.9 lb) 1.9 kg ОМ 100МИ-3Л + 0.25 kg A-IX-1 105 mm (4.1 in) 10 m (33 ft)

Hit probabilities


A US Army evaluation of the weapon gave the hit probabilities on a 5 meter wide (15 ft), 2.5 meter tall (7.5 ft) panel moving sideways at 4 meters per second (9 miles per hour). This probability decreases when firing into crosswind due to the unusual behaviour of the round; in a 7 miles (11.3 km) -per-hour wind, the gunner cannot expect to get a first-round hit more than 50% of the time beyond 180m.
Range Percent
50 m 100%
100 m 96 %
200 m 51 %
300 m 22 %
400 m 9 %
500 m 4 %

History of use


Accurate firing is difficult at ranges over 300 meters and with the RPG-7 the phrase "the closer the better" has always been true. During the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan the mujahideen
Mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

 tended to use the weapon at ranges of less than 80 meters. They were used in the Vietnam war
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 to counter the introduction of the lightly armored M113
M113 armored personnel carrier
The M113 is a fully tracked armored personnel carrier that has formed the backbone of the United States Army's mechanized infantry units from the time of its first fielding in Vietnam in April 1962. The M113 was the most widely used armored vehicle of the U.S...

. This was countered by the mounting of barbed wire bundles or placing sections of chain link fence supported by 2 or 3 "U" shaped engineer stakes in front of the vehicle as a portable stand-off
Standoff distance
Standoff distance is a security measure that focused on preventing unscreened vehicles from approaching within a certain distance of a building. It is intended to deter truck bombs by making it more difficult for them to cause catastrophic damage. In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, many...

. Coalition armoured vehicles in Iraq have been fitted with "birdcage" slat armour to protect against RPGs.

The RPG-7 was used by the Provisional Irish Republican Army
Provisional Irish Republican Army
The Provisional Irish Republican Army is an Irish republican paramilitary organisation whose aim was to remove Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom and bring about a socialist republic within a united Ireland by force of arms and political persuasion...

 in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

 from 1969 to 2005, most notably in Lurgan
Lurgan
Lurgan is a town in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The town is near the southern shore of Lough Neagh and in the north-eastern corner of the county. Part of the Craigavon Borough Council area, Lurgan is about 18 miles south-west of Belfast and is linked to the city by both the M1 motorway...

, County Armagh
County Armagh
-History:Ancient Armagh was the territory of the Ulaid before the fourth century AD. It was ruled by the Red Branch, whose capital was Emain Macha near Armagh. The site, and subsequently the city, were named after the goddess Macha...

, where it was used against British Army observation post
Observation post
An observation post, temporary or fixed, is a position from which soldiers can watch enemy movements, to warn of approaching soldiers , or to direct artillery fire...

s and the towering military base at Kitchen Hill in the town. The IRA also used them in Catholic areas of West Belfast against British Army armoured personnel carriers and Army forward operating bases (FOB). Beechmount Avenue was renamed "RPG Avenue" because it was chosen many times by the IRA to mount rocket attacks.

Users





Produced locally by Arsenal Corporation as ATGL-L. (also used by rebel forces in the Libyan civil war): Copied by the People's Liberation Army(PLA)as the Type 69 RPG
Type 69 RPG
The Type 69 85mm rocket propelled grenade , made by Norinco, is a Chinese copy of the famous RPG-7 developed by the Soviet Union. First introduced in the early 1970s, the Type 69 RPG is a common individual anti-tank weapon in service with the PLA...

.The RPG is the most popular RPG-7
RPG-7
The RPG-7 is a widely-produced, portable, unguided, shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Originally the RPG-7 and its predecessor, the RPG-2, were designed by the Soviet Union, and now manufactured by the Bazalt company...

 copy used over the world. - Produced locally by SC Carfil SA from Brașov as AG-7 (Romanian: Aruncătorul de Grenade 7, Grenade Launcher 7).: South African National Defence Force
South African National Defence Force
The South African National Defence Force is the armed forces of South Africa. The military as it exists today was created in 1994, following South Africa's first post-apartheid national elections and the adoption of a new constitution...

.: Made by Military Industry Corporation
Military Industry Corporation (Sudan)
The Military Industrial Corporation is the state-run defense corporation of Sudan. It is responsible for the production of a wide range of defense equipment, such as main battle tanks, ammunition and electronics.-History:...

 as the Sinar.

See also

  • Rocket-propelled grenade (includes a description of tactics and history.)
  • Panzerfaust
    Panzerfaust
    The Panzerfaust was an inexpensive, recoilless German anti-tank weapon of World War II. It consisted of a small, disposable preloaded launch tube firing a high explosive anti-tank warhead, operated by a single soldier...

  • RPG-2
    RPG-2
    The RPG-2 was the first rocket-propelled grenade launcher designed in the Soviet Union.-Development:The RPG-2 , was a man-portable, shoulder-launched rocket-propelled grenade anti-armor weapon...

  • RPG-16
    RPG-16
    The RPG-16 is a handheld anti-tank grenade launcher for anti-tank warfare. The RPG-16 was developed in 1968, and adopted by the Red Army in 1970 for special operation teams and the Soviet airborne troops...

  • RPG-18
    RPG-18
    The RPG-18 Mukha is a Russian short-range, disposable light anti-tank rocket launcher.-History:The RPG-18 is very similar to the US M72-series LAW anti-tank rocket and was developed after the Soviet military obtained M72s from its allies in Vietnam...

  • PG-7VR
    PG-7VR
    The PG-7VR is a tandem charge RPG warhead designed to penetrate up to 600 mm rolled homogeneous armour equivalence of explosive reactive armor and the conventional armor underneath...

  • Type 69 RPG
    Type 69 RPG
    The Type 69 85mm rocket propelled grenade , made by Norinco, is a Chinese copy of the famous RPG-7 developed by the Soviet Union. First introduced in the early 1970s, the Type 69 RPG is a common individual anti-tank weapon in service with the PLA...

  • Yasin (RPG)
  • AT4
    AT4
    The AT4 is an 84-mm unguided, portable, single-shot recoilless smoothbore weapon built in Sweden by Saab Bofors Dynamics...

  • AT3
  • M9A1 Bazooka
  • M72 LAW
    M72 LAW
    The M72 LAW is a portable one-shot 66 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the United States by Paul V. Choate, Charles B. Weeks, and Frank A. Spinale et al...

  • Carl Gustaf M3 recoilless rifle
    Carl Gustav recoilless rifle
    The Carl Gustav is the common name for the 84 mm man-portable reusable multi-role recoilless rifle produced by Saab Bofors Dynamics in Sweden...


External links