Russian defense industry upgrades RPG-7V2 rocket launcher

The Russian defense industry is upgrading the legendary RPG-7V2 rocket launcher, Chief of NPO Bazalt’s (a subsidiary of Rostec’s Tecmash concern) design center Nikolai Sereda told TASS on June 15: “The RPG-7V2 has already been adopted by the Russian military. At the same time, some upgrades are being introduced to the weapon under a contract with the Ministry of Defense,” said Sereda. According to him, the accuracy of the launcher will be improved through the medium of integration of new sighting systems.
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RPG-7V2 will be an effective support weapon for some 30 years or even more (Picture source: Vitaly Kuzmin)

The existing RPG-7V2 has a dispersion of 40-50 cm at a firing distance of 150 m. The modernization will result in the weapon’s capability to engage a main battle tank (MBT) at a distance of up to 1 km, Sereda noted.

NPO Bazalt also designs new rockets for the RPG-7V2 — a series of munitions with lethality increased by some 30 percent is set to be developed within two or three years. The armor-piercing, thermobaric, and fragmentation effects of the new rockets will be dramatically reinforced. “The new munitions will be capable of engaging any target on the battlefield, ranging from exposed manpower to cutting-edge armored vehicles protected by explosive reactive armor [ERA],” said Sereda. According to him, a new rocket based on ‘non-traditional’ anti-personnel effects has already completed its state trials.

RPG-7V2 will be an effective support weapon for some 30 years or even more, Sereda noted. Despite its age, the RPG-7V2 remains the primary anti-tank weapon of Russian infantry. Having a weight of 6.68 kg, it features a firing range between 200 m and 500 m. The rocket launcher is traditionally armed with PG-7VL Luch (Ray) spigot-mounted 93 mm high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) munition capable of piercing a 500 mm piece of rolled homogenous armor (RHA). The anti-tank capabilities of RPG-7 have been reinforced with PG-7VR Rezume (Summary) 105 mm tandem HEAT rocket, which pierces 600 mm of RHA behind ERA and can be fired at a distance of up to 200 m.

Being originally an anti-tank weapon only, RPG-7 has turned into a multipurpose system capable of engaging both exposed and protected manpower. To this end, the ammunition range of RPG-7 has been supplied with an OG-7V 40 mm high-explosive fragmentation rocket and a TBG-7V 105 mm thermobaric rocket.

RPG-7V2 can be operated only with its organic PGO-7V2/3 2.7x optical sight. The weapon lacks any mounts for red-dot, optical, or thermal imaging sighting systems. It also has no MIL-STD-1913 Picatinny rails for sights and other accessories: the PGO-7V2/V3 side is installed on a left-mounted dovetail-type attaching lug.

Since the introduction of RPG-7 to the Soviet Army’s inventory, new types of threats have emerged. The world’s leading armor manufacturers have cleaned the dust from active protection systems and decide to integrate them with modern MBTs: US-made M1A2SEPv3 Abrams, German-made Leopard 2A7, Israeli-made Merkava Mk.IV, and even Chinese-made Type 96/99 tanks can be fitted with APS. This is a new type of protection that requires dramatic updates to be introduced to numerous anti-tank systems.

It should be mentioned that NPO Bazalt has already developed an anti-tank weapon capable of defeating APSs. In particular, the RPG-30 Kryuk (Hook) disposable rocket launcher is armed with a leading rocket defeating an APS and the main tandem munition capable of defeating RHA behind ERA.

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