Country of origin
1 850 mm
1 000 mm
Rate of fire
3 ~ 4 rpm
Range of effective fire
450 - 500 m
Penetration (steel armor)
Penetration (steel armor behind ERA)
1 500 mm
is one of the deadliest rocket launchers in use today. It was
developed during the 1980s. Soviets required a deadlier
anti-tank weapon than the
for their infantry in order to defeat NATO's third generation main battle
tanks, such as the US
Abrams and British
Challenger. It also had to be more accurate and have longer range than
the RPG-7. The resulting RPG-29 is a tube-launched anti-armor rocket
launcher that can be seen as an evolution of the
previously used by the Soviet airborne troops and special forces.
RPG-29 bears a passing resemblance to the M20 Super Bazooka and the
French LRAC, it’s worth contemplating if the Soviets saw greater
potential in a completely new anti-tank weapon rather than stick
with the upgraded versions of the RPG-7 or the miniscule single-use
RPG-26. This could have been the
impetus for the KBP Instrument Design Bureau’s R&D from 1983 onward.
The RPG-29 was a hybrid that combined the portability of the RPG-7
RPG-16 while offering a greater penetration than the
gun. Its ultimate purpose was allowing infantry to defeat the
latest Western main battle tanks tanks with explosive reactive armor.
Soon after it entered service in 1989 the tank killer dubbed
“Vampir" (vampire) began to proliferate. This was intentional, since the
RPG-29 was showcased at arms shows in the Middle East, reportedly IDEX in Abu Dhabi, as early as 1993.
Given its dimensions the RPG-29 is carried by two soldiers:
an operator and his assistant huffing extra rockets. It is a
two-part weapon system whose breech houses the venturi
connected to a launch tube.
the launch tube is the assembly for an integrated pistol grip
attacked beneath the optical sight; for short ranges a
plastic flip sight is found on the outer rim of the launch tube’s
muzzle. Certain features of the RPG-29 were borrowed from the
RPG-16, hence both share startling commonalities like the electric fuze ignition housed in the trigger mechanism. Should the operator
choose to fire lying on the ground, he could release the folding
bipod behind the pistol grip.
The RPG-29 anti-tank rocket launcher has a very short range of just half a kilometer
compared to ATGMs. However it's actually twice the range of the
RPG-7. The RPG-29 is also more accurate than the RPG-7.
fires a powerful 105 mm PG-29V rocket,
which contains a tandem warhead. The same warhead is used by the
PG-7VR rocket of the RPG-7, as well as by the rocket of the
single-use anti-tank rocket launcher. Though the RPG-29 has much
longer range than the RPG-7 and RPG-27. There is also a TBG-29V
rocket with thermobaric
warhead, which is used against buildings, field fortifications, soft
lightly armored vehicles. These RPG-29-specific rounds are identifiable for their rocket motor
containing fin stabilizers and aren't interchangeable with other
Another neat feature is its “cold” launch. In less than a
second the RPG-29’s propellant expends itself within the fiberglass
tube and flies towards its target without leaving a smoke trail
along its trajectory.
There is little to no evidence to prove the RPG-29 saw any
combat during the 1990s even when so many different small wars were
raging across the former Soviet republics. It wasn’t
until the 2006 military conflict between Israel and Hezbollah
in Southern Lebanon that the RPG-29 came to the world’s attention
and became notorious.
Unfortunately, IDF literature on the 2006 war offers few
insights about the RPG-29’s use. It took another concurrent war to
prove its lethality.
long occupation of Iraq by a United States-led coalition forces RPG-29’s supplied from or via Iran to
insurgent groups were employed in ambushes that disabled several
tanks—these were the American
Abrams’ and at least a single
The Challenger 2 incident finally proved that Soviet-era
rocket launchers could disable third-generation NATO tanks. In
August 2006 British forces were deployed to Al-Amarah, Southern
Iraq, for a counterinsurgency operation. During an ambush an
RPG-29’s tandem HEAT round struck the lower glacis of a Challenger 2
and injured three of the crew members.
In 2013 viral footage from Syria showed a rebel firing an
RPG-29 on a rooftop. The shot hit a
completely destroyed the tank, whose turret erupted in a fiery
geyser. This was just further evidence of how effective the RPG-29
was against tanks.
The destruction and disabling of NATO and Russian tanks by
RPG-29’s confirms an apocryphal account of Russian Army tests dating
from 1999. In it, both missiles and RPGs were fired on
tanks. Both MBTs suffered frontal penetration by PG-29V rounds.
Even if the RPG-29 is older than its siblings the
that are even more capable, the threat it poses to tanks and armored
vehicles shouldn’t be
dismissed. With a lethal mythology that’s been growing for 25 years,
it could be the single greatest influence reshaping present ideas
about armor protection.
There are no official numbers on how many RPG-29’s have been
built since 1989. There’s reason to believe the system is no longer
being mass-produced for the Russian Army, with small batches
reserved for limited export orders. Finding an exact list of its
users, other than Russia and post-Soviet states, is hard to come by
although the Mexican Army stands out as a rare customer from Latin
America. It’s fairly obvious, however, it is likely that regimes
opposed to the West, i.e. Iran, Syria, and North Korea, have stocks
of these extremely lethal tank killers.
RPG-29N – is
a "night" version, used the 1PN51-2 night sight.
– An RPG-29 with newer electro-optical sights, i.e. KPUO and VWO
2TS35, that have an integrated laser rangefinder and day/night
compatibility. This variant operates like a recoilless rifle on a
collapsible tripod mount.
Ghadir – it is reportedly an Iranian version of the RPG-29.
publish your own articles? Visit our
guidelines for more information.