Soviet Union – RPG-7 Rocket Launcher

Last updated on February 17th, 2019 at 09:48 pm

The RPG-7 rocket launcher is a reloadable, shoulder-fired 3.35 inch (85mm) caliber rocket launcher that was introduced by the Soviet Union in 1961.

This anti-tank weapon is 39 inches (990mm) long, weighs 15.4 pounds (7kg) and uses a 4.96 pound (2.25 kg) projectile.

The RPG-7 rocket launcher can be used by troops in motorized, airborne and infantry roles, because it is light and compact.  During the final assault phase of an infantry attack, the RPG-7 can be used to destroy mortar pits and machine gun emplacements.

Iraqi Security Force (ISF) commando with RPG-7 rocket launcherThe weapon carries a HEAT warhead that can penetrate 12.6 inches (320mm) of armor at 984ft (300m). Spare rounds can be carried in a satchel on the firer’s back.

The firer operates the RPG-7 by inserting the rocket into the launcher tube, removing the safety pin and nosecap, aiming the weapon, and then depressing the trigger to launch the rocket.

The RPG-7 has a muzzle velocity of 984ft/s (300m/s).  It is fairly accurate for its type, but side winds can blow it off course.  If the rocket overshoots its target, it will self destruct at a range of 3,020 feet (920m).

Since The RPG-7 has been in service, the projectile has been improved many times in order to improve its effectiveness. However, its effective range against moving targets remains at a maximum 984ft (300m), which limits its function.

The strong backblast of the RPG-7 rocket launcher makes it unsuitable for use in enclosed spaces.

The RPG-7 rocket launcher has been popular with guerrilla and terrorist forces. It was used by the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War, by the Khmer Rouge during the Cambodian Civil War, by the Mujahideen during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) from the 1970s to the turn of the 21st century.

It is still in service in many places around the world, including Russia, the United States, Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan and North Korea.  Variants of the RPG-7 are used in China, Vietnam and Cambodia.