Country of origin
40 - 105 mm
2 - 4.5 kg
9.9 - 13 kg
115 - 300 m/s
Rate of fire
up to 4 rpm
Range of effective fire (against tanks)
Range of effective fire (against buildings and
up to 500 m
260 - 750 mm
Cheap. Simple. Robust. The RPG-7 is undoubtedly the most famous
anti-tank rocket launcher ever devised since its introduction in 1961. It
remains in production with more than 9 million units produced to date. The
RPG-7 continues to serve with over 40 countries, plus a large number
of irregular military groups.
The RPG-7, which stands for the Russian Ruchnoy
Protivotankovvy Granatomyot or hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher
(although it is more frequently called a “Rocket Propelled
Grenade” or "RPG"), is a further development of the 1949
RPG-2, itself based
on the World War II German Panzerfaust and US Bazooka. Its chief
improvements over the RPG-2 are much-improved range and increased
The RPG-7 is reusable single-shot smoothbore steel tube with
a diameter of 40 millimeters. This recoilless, shoulder-fired,
muzzle-loaded launcher can shoot a wide variety of rockets. Optical
and iron sights generally come standard, although night vision
sights can be used.
The middle of the barrel is covered in wood to protect the
operator from heat and the two handles are located close together in
the center of the weapon.
Another advantage of this versatile weapon is that it can
fire inside buildings due to its relatively small back-blast.
Nonetheless, this weapon gives off a highly noticeable flash, noise,
After 10 meters, the rocket’s internal rocket motor ignites
and four stabilization fins fold out, giving the weapon a maximum
muzzle velocity of 300 meters per second.
Normally, the RPG-7 is operated by a gunner and an assistant
who holds extra rounds and defends the gunner from attack.
has a maximum range of 920 meters at which point the rocket
detonates. Nevertheless, it is only considered effective out to
about 200 meters, at which range it is estimated to have about a 50%
chance of hitting a slowly moving 5 by 2.5 meter target.
During its nearly 60-year service life, the RPG-7 has been used to
knock out tanks, destroy armored personnel carriers, buildings,
infantry, and shoot down low-flying helicopters. Furthermore the
simple RPG-7 brought down more helicopters to date than most man-portable
air-defense missile systems. Also, insurgents have made extensive
use of “small boats” armed primarily with RPG-7s and machine guns.
rockets are mounted on the very end of the launcher. Weapons of
this style are sometimes called "spigot mortars".
Rockets used include:
baseline 85 mm High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) rocket. It
penetrates around 260 mm of rolled homogenous armor;
improved 70 mm HEAT rocket. It penetrates around 300 mm or armor.
This rocket flies faster than the baseline PG-7V and is more
resistant to crosswinds, hence more accurate;
PG-7VS is a
73 mm HEAT rocket. It is a further improved version of the PG-7VM
with increased armor penetration. Yet it preserves weight and
dimensions. It penetrates up to 400 mm of armor. This rocket was
adopted in 1973;
PG-7VS1 is a
cheaper version of the PG-7VS. It penetrates up to 360 mm or armor.
It was adopted in the mid 1970s;
PG-7VL is a
larger 93 mm HEAT rocket. It has effective range of up to 150 m
against tanks and 300 m against stationary targets. It penetrates up to 500 mm of armor;
PG-7VR is a
105 mm rocket with tandeam HEAT warhead. It has effective range of 100 m
against tanks and 200 m against stationary targets. It penetrates up to 600 mm of
behind ERA and 750 mm without ERA. The same warhead is used by
single-use rocket launcher and
reloadable rocket launcher. This rocket was adopted in the 1980s and
was intended to counter latest Western main battle tanks of third
generation, such as American
M1 Abrams and British
40 mm HE-FRAG rocket with a large lethal radius;
105 mm thermobaric rocket, which has a devastating explosive
The RPG-7 has seen such wide and varied service that it is
nearly impossible to list all of the conflicts it has fought in.
From the Vietnam War to the Gulf War, the RPG-7 is most certainly
The RPG-7 continues to be produced in countries such as Iraq,
Romania, China, and Bulgaria. Even though it will continue to serve
in low-budget forces for years in a fire-support role, it is being
phased out by most militaries from the anti-armor role due to its
limited effectiveness against modern main battle tanks.
Perhaps the primary reason RPG-7s are so popular is the low
cost—anywhere from $500-2 000 for a launcher and $100-500 per
initial model designation.
improved version. It was adopted in 2001 and is a current production
model, used by the Russian armed forces, and some other countries.
lightweight paratrooper model that can be broken into two pieces for
improved paratrooper model. It is equivalent to the RPG-7V2. It was
adopted in 2001 and is a current production model, used the the
Russian armed forces and possibly some other countries.
improved Chinese variant. The Type 69 is about 2 kilograms lighter
and 50 millimeters shorter. Similar to the RPG-7D3 it can fold into
two pieces. In addition, the forward grip was left out to make the
USA RPG-7: the US-built clone of the RPG-7. This model features
numerous Picatinny-type accessory rails and uses common
rifle components. This weapon has been reportedly adopted by
Peru, Philippines and possibly some other countries. The same
company also developed similar PSRL-1, Mk.777 and GS-777 anti-tank
rocket launchers that are redesigned and improved versions of the RPG-7.
Cambodian and Vietnamese designation.
Article by The Tiger
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