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RPG-22

Single-use anti-tank rocket launcher

RPG-22

The RPG-22 is an enlarged version of the RPG-18 with increased penetration and longer range

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1985
Caliber 72.5 mm
Weight 2.7 kg
Length (collapsed) 785 mm
Length (extended) 850 mm
Muzzle velocity 133 m/s
Sighting range 250 m
Range of effective fire (against tanks) 250 m
Armor penetration 350 - 400 mm
Reinforced concrete penetration 1 000 mm
Brickwork penetration 1 200 mm

 

   The RPG-22 is a Soviet anti-tank rocket launcher. Sometimes it is also nicknamed as the "Netto". It was developed during the late 1970s as a successor to the RPG-18. It was adopted by the Soviet Army in 1985, though some sources report that this weapon was adopted in 1980. This rocket launcher was exported to several countries. It was produced for around 10 years. Production of this weapon ceased in Russia in around 1993-1995, as its penetration was deemed insufficient to counter modern tanks. It was succeeded by a more powerful RPG-26. Although there are still large numbers in circulation in Russia and other countries. The RPG-22 is license-produced in Bulgaria, where its production still continued. Other operators are Columbia, Georgia, India, Moldova, Peru, Turkmenistan and Ukraine.

   Essentially the RPG-22 is simply an enlarged version of the RPG-18 with a wider bore. It fires a larger 72.5 mm rocket opposed to 64 mm rocket of the RPG-18. The new rocket has roughly 25%increased penetration and range. However performance of the RPG-22 was still rather humble. This weapon became obsolete soon after its introduction. It was quickly superseded by an improved RPG-26, which had more satisfactory performance.

   The RPG-22 is a disposable weapon that can only be used once. Like the M72 LAW and RPG-18 it is carried in a collapsed form before being extended for combat. The launcher is a simple, smoothbore, aluminum tube, layered with fiberglass on the outside. The tube is telescoped out to a longer length for greater accuracy. It fires a pre-loaded PG-22 rocket, that is factory fitted and sealed. The rocket is powered by a solid-propellant motor. When fired, four stabilizing fins pop out of the rocket. Once the rocket is launched the empty tube is discarded as it can not be reloaded.

   The RPG-22 is equipped with only simple flip-up sights, both forward and rear. Maximum sighting range is 250 meters. Accuracy of this weapon is rather limited. There is no way to mount an optical or night sight.

   Rocket of the RPG-22 has a High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead and penetrates 350-400 mm of rolled homogenous armor. Today such penetration is not enough to successfully engage modern main battle tanks. However, this weapon is still useful against light vehicles. It can also engage bunkers, buildings, and various field fortifications, since its rocket reportedly penetrates more than 1 000 mm of reinforced concrete and 1 200 mm of brickwork.

   If it misses the target the rocket self-destructs after flying for several hundred meters, which happens a couple of seconds after launch.

   The RPG-22 can be made ready to fire in less than 10 seconds.

   This weapon is cocked manually by raising the rear sight. The RPG-22 has improved safety mechanism over the previous RPG-18. Once cocked, this weapon can reverted back to safety. This feature was absent on the RPG-18 where the safety could not be activated once the weapon was cocked and the rocket had to be launched somewhere anyway.

   The back-blast area of the RPG-22 is 30 meters. This is a serious disadvantage of the weapon, as it endangers nearby personnel. Furthermore such back-blast exposes the operator. Still though despite its back-blast the RPG-22 can be used inside buildings, though there should be at least 2 meters of space behind the operator.

   The RPG-22 has a number of advantages as it is a cheap, small, light and easy to use weapon. With a little extra training, one man in every squad could carry one or two, giving each squad some anti-tank, anti-vehicle, or anti-structure capability. Simple instructions are printed on the side of the weapon.

 

 
RPG-22

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RPG-22

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RPG-22

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RPG-22

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RPG-22

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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