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RPG-29 launcher with PG-29V rocket
|Place of origin||Soviet Union / Russia|
|Used by||Russia, Mexico, Hezbollah, Ukraine, Syria|
|Wars||Iraq War, 2006 Lebanon War|
|Manufacturer||Bazalt, Avibras, SEDENA|
|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 range||500 m (1,600 ft)|
|Sights||Iron, optical, and night sights available with ranges up to 450 m (1,480 ft)|
|Blast yield||750 mm (30 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 (NATO designation: Vampir) is a Russian rocket-propelled grenade launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989, it was the most recent weapon of its type to be adopted by the Russian 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 "Hashim". The RPG-29's PG-29V tandem-charge warhead is one of the few warhead systems which has penetrated the hulls of Western composite-armored main battle tanks in active combat.
The RPG-29 is a shoulder-launched, tube-style, breech-loading weapon designed to be carried and used by a single soldier. On the top of the launch tube is the 2.7× 1P38 optical sight. On the bottom of the tube is a shoulder brace for proper positioning along with a pistol grip trigger mechanism. A 1PN51-2 night sight can be fitted.
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. Since the projectile follows a ballistic trajectory, the weapon could be described as a recoilless gun.
Two projectiles are available for the weapon; the PG-29V anti-tank/anti-bunker round and the TBG-29V thermobaric anti-personnel round. The PG-29V round has a tandem-charge HEAT warhead for defeating explosive reactive armor (ERA). 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. The warhead itself comprises two charges; an initial small high explosive charge destroys the reactive armor, or, if ERA or cage armor is absent, the main armor is impacted. Behind the primary charge, a much larger secondary shaped charge bursts at the rear of the initial warhead and projects a jet of molten metal into the pre-compromised armor.
The PG-29V warhead is capable of penetrating the modern composite armour used in current generation battle tanks. During Russian weapons testing, the rocket was launched against T-80 and T-90 tanks. It penetrated the hulls of both tank-types through their frontal arcs, despite reactive armor, composite armor, and the tanks' very thick hulls.
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 U.S./U.K. forces during the Iraq War, and the 2006 Lebanon War, when it was used against Israeli forces.
During the conflict, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz stated that the RPG-29 was a major source of IDF casualties in the 2006 Lebanon War although a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry denied that Russia had supplied arms directly to Hezbollah.
Shortly before the end of the conflict; an agreement had apparently been reached. The Russian Kommersant magazine acknowledged through anonymous sources the possibility of a weapons transfer between Syria and Hezbollah during the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.
In August 2006, an RPG-29 round which uses a tandem-charge warhead to penetrate explosive reactive armor (ERA) as well as composite armor behind it, was reported to have penetrated the frontal ERA of a Challenger 2 tank during an engagement in al-Amarah, Iraq, wounding several crew members.
In May 2008, The New York Times disclosed that an American M1 tank had also been damaged by an RPG-29 in Iraq. The American Army ranks the RPG-29 threat to American armor so high that they refused to allow the newly formed Iraqi army to buy it, fearing it will fall into insurgent hands.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (July 2009)|
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