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RPG-26

Single-use anti-tank rocket launcher

RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

The RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher is widely used by the Russian military

 
 
Country of origin Soviet Union
Entered service 1985
Caliber 72.5 mm
Weight 2.9 kg
Length 770 mm
Muzzle velocity ?
Sighting range 250 m
Range of effective fire (against tanks) 250 m
Armor penetration 440 mm
Concrete penetration 1 000 mm
Brickwork penetration 1 500 mm

 

   The RPG-26 was developed during the early 1980s. It was a successor to the RPG-22, which was little more than a scaled-up version of the RPG-18 (Soviet copy of a US M72 LAW). The RPG-26 was adopted in 1985. Sometimes this weapon is nicknamed the "Aglen". The RPG-26 is still widely used by the Russian military. It is also in service with Armenia and Azerbaijan. Recently these rocket launchers emerged in Syria.

   The RPG-26 was a step forward from the RPG-18/22 and M72 LAW design. The RPG-26 launcher is longer than its predecessor in travelling mode. However unlike the RPG-18/22 it can not be telescoped out to even longer length. The RPG-26 is slightly heavier than its predecessor. It uses rocket of the same 72.5 mm caliber as the RPG-22. The new rocket has similar range, but around 10% increased penetration.

   The RPG-26 is a disposable weapon that can only be used once. The launcher is a simple, smoothbore, aluminum tube, layered with fiberglass on the outside. It fires a pre-loaded PG-26 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 main role of the RPG-26 is to engage tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carrier, self-propelled artillery systems, and other armored vehicles. Its rocket has a High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warhead and penetrates 440 mm of rolled homogenous armor. It was a significant improvement over the RPG-22, that could penetrate 350-400 mm of rolled homogenous armor. Today such penetration is not enough to successfully defeat modern main battle tanks. However, this weapon is still useful against other armored vehicles. Its rocket penetrates 1 000 mm of reinforced concrete, 1 500 mm of brickwork, or 2 400 mm of earth. So this rocket launchers can also engage bunkers, buildings, and various field fortifications.

   The RPG-26 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. If the rocket misses the target it self-destructs after flying for several hundred meters, which happens a couple of seconds after launch.

   The weapon can be made ready to fire in less than 10 seconds. It is cocked manually by raising the rear sight. Once cocked, this weapon can reverted back to safety.

    The back-blast area of the RPG-26 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-26 can be used inside buildings, however there should be no walls least 2 meters behind the operator.

   The RPG-26 has a number of advantages as it is a cheap, small, light and easy to use weapon. With a little training or no training at all, 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.

 

Variants

 

   RShG-2 is an anti-structure rocket launcher. It is basically an RPG-26 with a thermobaric warhead. This weapon is effective against buildings, bunkers and various field fortifications. Also it can be used against soft skin, or lightly armored vehicles. The RShG-2 is slightly heavier than the RPG-26 and weights 3.5 kg. This weapon has a direct fire range of only 115 m. The RShG-2 was adopted in around 2011 and is in service with the Russian armed forces.

   MRO-A Borodach is a Russian rocket launcher that fires a 72.5 mm projectile with thermobaric warhead. This weapon appears to be based on the RPG-26. This type of munitions releases a large cloud of flammable gas and causes massive explosions. It is used to clear out bunkers, buildings and various field fortifications. It is also very effective against unarmored and lightly armored vehicles. There are also smoke-laying and incendiary versions of this weapon. The MRO-A was something of a lighter version of RPO-A Shmel thermobaric rocket launcher. This weapon is still in service with the Russian Army.

   RPG-27 is an anti-tank rocket launcher with a tandem HEAT warhead. Externally it resembles a scaled-up RPG-26. It was designed during the mid- and late 1980s and was adopted in 1989. This weapon was intended to counter the latest NATO tanks of third generation, such as American M1 Abrams and British Challenger. These new Western tanks emerged in the 1980s and had composite armor, as well as capability to mount add-on explosive reactive armor for even higher level of protection. The RPG-27 contains a powerful 105 mm rocket with a tandem warhead, and has significantly improved penetration. It penetrates 600 mm of steel armor behind ERA or 750 mm without ERA. Thogh weapon is much heavier and bulkier than the RPG-26.

   PDM-1 is a Georgian indigenous variant of the RPG-26.

 

 
RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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RPG-26 anti-tank rocket launcher

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