RPG-7 / RPG-7V / Antitank Grenade Launcher
The RPG translates to both English Rocket-Propelled Grenade and Russian as Raketniy Protivotankoviy Granatomet, "a rocket anti-tank grenade launcher".
The RPG-7 is a recoilless, shoulder-fired, muzzle-loaded, reloadable, antitank grenade launcher. It fires a variety of 85-mm rocket-assisted grenades from a 40-mm smoothbore launcher tube. The launcher has two hand grips; a large optical sight; a thick, wooden heat guard around the middle; and a large, flared blast shield at the rear of the tube. The launcher is 953 mm long without grenade and 1,340 mm with grenade. The launcher weighs 7.9 kg and the grenade 2.25 kg.
The RPG-7 is light enough to be carried and fired by one person. However, an assistant grenadier normally deploys to the left of the gunner to protect him from small arms fire.
The internal rocket motor of the PG-7 grenade ignites after traveling 10 meters, giving the projectile higher velocity (sustained out to 500 meters), flatter trajectory, and better accuracy. Accuracy is further enhanced by four large, knife-like fins at the rear of the projectile which unfold when the round leaves the tube, and by smaller, offset fins at the very rear which produce a slow rotation. The maximum effective range is 500 meters for stationary targets and 300 meters for moving targets. Maximum range is 920 meters at which point the projectile self-destructs. The PG-7 grenade, with a shaped-charge warhead, has very good armor penetration (330 mm), capable of defeating all known armored vehicles.
The RPG-7V model can be fitted with a telescope and both infrared and passive night sights. All RPG-7 models have an optical sight which can be illuminated for night sighting, and open sights are provided for emergency use.
The RPG-7 is employed as the standard squad antitank weapon (one per squad) in motorized rifle units and is also found in reconnaissance units.
The RPG-7V requires a well-trained gunner to estimate ranges and lead distances for moving targets. Crosswinds as low as 7 miles per hour can complicate the gunner's estimate and reduce first-round hit probability to 50% at ranges beyond 180 meters. An RPG projectile screen of chain link fence will completely neutralize 50 percent of the rounds and degrade the penetrating capability of the remaining rounds.
In addition to AT role, can be used against personnel and for bunkerbusting and as a side-attack mine system. Other countries have developed rounds for RPG-7V.
Reloading and re-aiming the RPG-7 requires a minimum of 14 seconds. Firing leaves noticeable signatures in the form of flash, smoke, and noise, and the unprotected gunner is extremely vulnerable to suppressive fires.
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