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Anti-tank rocket launcher


The RPG-16 is an improved version of the RPG-7 with increased range and accuracy

Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1970
Weapon caliber 58.3 mm
Rocket caliber 58.3 mm
Rocket weight 3 kg
Weight (unloaded) 9.4 kg
Weight (loaded) 12.4 kg
Length 1 104 mm
Length (folded) 645 mm
Muzzle velocity 130 - 350 m/s
Rate of fire up to 6 rpm
Sighting range 800 m
Range of effective fire against tanks 300 m
Range of effective fire against buildings and stationary targets 500 m
Armor penetration 300 mm


   The RPG-16 is an improved, more accurate version of the famous RPG-7, intended for paratrooper and special operations use. Contrary to popular belief, RPG does not stand for Rocket Propelled Grenade but for Ruchnoy Protivotankovvy Granatomyot (Russian for hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher).

   The RPG-16 was designed in the late 1960s by a Soviet design bureau under I. E. Rogozin and entered service in 1970. It has not been exported to many countries. It is no longer in production, but that by the time it had ceased about 120 000 had been produced. The RPG-16 is nicknamed the “Grom” (thunder).

   The RPG-16 is a muzzle-loaded reloadable recoilless weapon with an integral folding bipod. It uses a complex electrical firing system. However, its advantages—a higher muzzle velocity, faster rate of fire (maximum of 6 rpm as opposed to 4 on the RPG-7), increased range, and improved accuracy came at the cost of more weight, and a longer weapon. Like the RPG-7D, the RPG-16 can be broken down into two pieces for ease of carrying.

   The RPG-16 can only fire only one type of rocket: the PG-16 High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT).  Some sources report that there is also an unknown HE/Frag round. After firing and about 12 meters from the muzzle, the rocket’s motor ignites, powering the warhead to a maximum claimed range of 800 meters. That's around 300 meters more than the RPG-7. However actual effective range of this weapon against tanks is only around 300 meters. The rocket self-destructs at a range of around 800 meters.

   Folding iron sights come as standard, although optical sights are more frequently used.

   Due to its low penetration and high accuracy, the RPG-16 has been generally used to knock out reinforced positions from a distance instead of tanks.

   The RPG-16 normally had a two-man crew: the gunner and his assistant.

   At the time of its introduction the RPG-16 was supperrior to the RPG-7. However during the 1970s a number of new and larger rockets were developed for the RPG-7. Some of them penetrated 400-500 mm of armor. While the RPG-16 rockets penetrated only 300 mm and just could not match the newer rockets of the RPG-7. It was much harder to increase rocket size and armor penetration of the RPG-16 undercaliber rockets, without significant modifications to the weapon. So in the 1980s the RPG-16 was replaced in service by the older RPG-7D.

   The RPG-16 is no longer used by the Russian armed forces.

   During the 1980s the Soviets developed a new RPG-29 for their infantry, which is based around the same concept. The RPG-29 is a much more powerful weapon, which fires a 105-mm rocket with a tandem HEAT warhead. It is capable of defeating even the latest main battle tanks.


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