SADJ Identification Series: The RPG ID Guide
RPG-16 UDAR: Russian design and production. This 58mm tube recoilless launcher was not so much an upscaled 40mm RPG-7V (shown underneath and to the right of the RPG-16 for comparison), but a smaller version of the SPG-9 73mm recoilless for the paratroopers to carry. It did not significantly outdistance the capability of the RPG-7, nor did it compare to the SPG-9 so it was dropped fairly quickly from use. However, these are still encountered in Afghanistan and the region, left over from the Soviet era. (Photo by Dan Shea courtesy National Firearms Collection, Royal Armouries, Leeds)
While the Warsaw Pact nations were pursuing the RPG series of recoilless, shoulder-fired, rocket-assisted grenade launchers that were reloadable, the U.S. and her allies were concentrating on disposable single shot rocket launchers; most notably the LAW M72 series of launchers. By the mid 1970s, the Soviets had experimented with their own disposable launcher, and it was called the RPG-18. Essentially, the RPG-18 is a true rocket propelled grenade launcher, it is not a recoilless, and is similar to the LAW in most operational regards, with a bit less penetration. The tube is collapsed and must be extended to use. Photo shows the East German version of the RPG-18 in the collapsed, carry position. The Serbian M80 is close to the RPG-18 as well. (Photo by Dan Shea, Courtesy LMO Working Reference Collection)
Airtronics USA Inc has been working on a new U.S. made RPG-7 system. The addition of opto-electronic rails and bipod, as well as the adjustable position, removable Carbine type stock are upgrades intended for use by U.S. forces. Expect to see these in 2012. (Photos courtesy Airtronics, Inc.)
RPG-22 is another Russian shoulder fired rocket launcher - not a recoilless. It is of the same family as the RPG-18, with two tubes that must be extended out for use, (When extended it is shorter than RPG-18),but it is more powerful than the RPG-18, can penetrate more armor, and reach longer ranges. (Photo by Dan Shea, taken in the Middle East)
RPG-26 AGLEN is a disposable, non-telescoping Russian shoulder fired rocket launcher - again, not a recoilless. It is the direct replacement for the RPG-22 series, and the job it is for is taking out over 1,000 mm of concrete (about 3 feet) or 2,400 mm of log/earth bunker (over 7 feet). This is the same rocket as the RPG-22, with Graze features. The Thermobaric version is the RShG-2. (Photo by Dan Shea, taken in the Middle East)
RPG-27 TAVOLGA is an easy to use, disposable, single tube, three step Russian shoulder fired rocket launcher of 105mm. The basic rocket is a tandem warhead system for defeating ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) and will reportedly penetrate up to 1.5 meters of reinforced concrete as well. It uses the same warhead as the RPG-29. The Thermobaric model is the RShG-1. (Photo by Dan Shea, taken in the Middle East)
RPG-28 is a rarely designated 125mm Russian shoulder fired rocket launcher and is a disposable, throw the tube away, launcher. We have no further information on this other than this picture. (Photo by Dan Shea, taken at SOFEX 2010)
RPG-29 is a reloadable shoulder fired rocket launcher that is a two section tube for ease of carry, much like the old M20 3.5 inch Super Bazooka in that way, but not others- this is a very modern system. It is re-loaded with individual rockets taken from transport tubes. The assistant gunner inserts a rocket to the RPG-29 and the operator fires. The assistant gunner then reloads. Primarily used with a tandem warhead for piercing explosive reactive armor, the RPG-29 also can use a Thermobaric round, and can be fired from a tripod. (Photos by Dan Shea, taken at SOFEX 2010)
The RPG-30 is basically an RPG-27 in tandem with a sub-caliber rocket. These are ballistically matched so that on firing the subcal rocket flies in front of the main rocket, and sets off active protection systems on the target, which hopefully cannot recycle in time to kill the following larger rocket.
RPG-73: Designation for the Polish prototype rocket launchers that became the RPG-76. “73” is apparently from the year of the program start.
RPG-75: The RPG-75 is a well-made, single use, shoulder-fired recoilless launcher made in the Czech Republic. The system uses a high pressure chamber, moving to lower pressure, and can be lighter than standard recoilless launchers.
RPG-32 ‘Hashim’ is a Russian designed shoulder fired reloadable rocket launcher that is now being built in cooperation with the King Abdullah Design & Development Bureau in Jordan, where it is designated as the “Hashim.” RPG-32 weighs only 10 kg fully loaded, and has a range out to 700 meters. There are presently two types of rounds - anti-tank HEAT that will penetrate up to 650 mm of Explosive Reactive Armor, or Thermobaric. (Photo by Dan Shea, taken at SOFEX 2010)
RPG-76 ‘Komar’ is a Polish shoulder fired rocket launcher with an odd appearance. Some think it is a recoilless due to the RPG-7 like nozzles on the grenade, but thankfully, it is not. This is a true rocket, and the nozzles direct the combustion gases away from the operator. The launcher is very lightweight and single shot. (Photo by Dan Shea courtesy Royal Armouries, National Firearms Centre)