The RPG-29 "Vampir" is a Soviet Union reusable rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989, it was the last RPG to be adopted by the Soviet military before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The RPG-29 has since been supplemented by other rocket-propelled systems, such as the RPG-30 and RPG-32. The RPG-29's PG-29V tandem-charge warhead is one of the few anti-tank weapons that can penetrate the frontal hulls of Western composite-armored main battle tanks, though not in the most heavily armored sections.
RPG-29 launcher with PG-29V rocket
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||Russia, Mexico, Hezbollah, Ukraine, Hamas, Syria, Pakistan, Vietnam|
2006 Lebanon War
Syrian Civil War
|Weight||12.1 kg (27 lb) unloaded (with optical sight)
18.8 kg (41 lb) loaded (ready to fire)
|Length||1 m (3 ft 3 in) (disassembled for transportation)
1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) (ready to fire)
|Cartridge||PG-29V tandem rocket
TBG-29V thermobaric rounds
|Caliber||105 mm (4.1 in) barrel
65 and 105 mm (2.6 and 4.1 in) warheads
|Muzzle velocity||280 m/s (920 ft/s)|
|Effective firing range||500 m (1,600 ft)
800 m (2,600 ft) (with tripod and fire control unit)
|Sights||Iron, optical, and night sights available with ranges up to 450 m (1,480 ft); automated day and day-night sights with laser rangefinder|
|Blast yield||750 mm (30 in) RHA
600 mm (24 in) RHA after reactive armor effects
1,500 mm (59 in) Reinforced concrete or brick
3,700 mm (150 in) Log and earth fortification
The RPG-29 is a shoulder-launched, unguided, tube-style, breech-loading anti-tank rocket system with a range of 500 meters. The light weapon is designed to be carried and used by a single soldier. On the top of the launch tube is a 2.7×1P38 optical sight.
When launched, the missile deploys eight fins as the rocket leaves the launcher, stabilizing the rocket during flight, up to a range of 500 meters.
Two warheads are available for the weapon:
- The TBG-29V thermobaric anti-personnel round.
- The PG-29V anti-tank/anti-bunker round has a tandem-charge HEAT warhead for defeating explosive reactive armor (ERA). This warhead is standardized with that of the PG-7VR round fired by the RPG-7V rocket launcher. The comprises two charges—an initial small charge triggers any reactive armor. If ERA or cage armor is absent, this charge strikes the main armour. Behind the primary charge, a much larger secondary shaped charge bursts at the rear of the initial warhead and projects a thin, high-speed-jet of metal into the armour compromised by the first charge. PG-29V is capable of killing hard targets, including tanks with ERA.
The RPG-29 is unusual among Russian anti-tank rocket launchers in that it lacks an initial propellant charge to place the projectile at a safe distance from the operator before the rocket ignites. Instead, the rocket engine starts as soon as the trigger is pulled, and burns out before the projectile leaves the barrel.
The RPG-29 was developed during the late 1980s, following the development of the RPG-26, and entered service with the Soviet army in 1989. It has recently seen intermittent use by irregular forces in the Middle East theater, including in combat against Allied forces during the Iraq War, and the 2006 Lebanon War, when it was used against Israeli forces.
2003 Iraq WarEdit
The RPG-29 is believed to have been used in skirmishes against American and British forces during the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq. An RPG-29 round was reported in August 2006 to have penetrated the frontal underside hull (equipped with ERA) of a Challenger 2 tank during an engagement in al-Amarah, Iraq, maiming one and wounding several other crew members, but only lightly damaging the tank, which drove home under its own power.
On August 25, 2007 a PG-29V hit a passing M1 Abrams in the hull rear wounding 3 crew members. On September 5, 2007, a PG-29V hit the side turret of an M1 Abrams in Baghdad, killing 2 of the crew and wounding 1, and the tank was seriously damaged.
In May 2008, The New York Times disclosed that another M1 Abrams tank had also been damaged by an RPG-29 in Iraq, while fighting Shia militias at Sadr City. The US Army ranks the RPG-29 threat to armor so high that they refused to allow the newly formed Iraqi army to buy it, fearing that it would fall into insurgent hands.
2006 Lebanon WarEdit
During the conflict, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz stated that the RPG-29 was a major source of IDF casualties in the 2006 Lebanon War. A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry denied that Russia had supplied arms directly to Hezbollah. Shortly before the end of the conflict the Russian Kommersant magazine acknowledged through anonymous sources the possibility of a weapons transfer between Syria and Hezbollah during the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.
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