American RPG-7 Airtronic USA Develops American RPG-7: Meet the Amerikansky Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher
By David Crane defrev at gmail dot com April 13, 2009 My good friend and professional contact, prolific infantry small arms/machine gun designer Jim Sullivan (a.k.a. L James Sullivan), has complained to me quite a bit about U.S. military infantry warfighters not having an American version of the Russian RPG-7 / RPG-7V shoulder-launched, anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade weapon system (recoilless rifle) at their disposal to match our current and potential future enemies’ RPG-7s / RPG-7Vs. The advantages of the RPG-7 anti-tank weapon system are several. First, the size of the RPG-7’s warhead/projectile is not limited to the size of the launcher tube, so you can use variable-size warheads that carry more payload and greater penetrative capability than an M72 LAW (Light Anti-Tank Weapon a.k.a. Light Anti-Armor Weapon) 66mm HEAT warhead. Second, the RPG-7’s reloadable/reusable aspect allows the user to carry a quiver of different types of RPG rounds (i.e. standard HEAT warhead, dual-HEAT warhead, and thermobaric rocket-propelled grenades) on his back and quickly choose the best one for the job, load it, fire it at the target, and then reach back and grab the next one in the quiver (or have his buddy grab it for him), load it, and fire it again, which may offer some tactical advantages over carrying multiple disposable rocket launchers on his back. And third, both the the RPG-7 and enhanced-armor-penetration-capable RPG-29 Vampir (Vampire) recoilless rifles’ respective launcher tubes, ammunition (grenade rounds), and training requirements are significantly less expensive than the U.S. military’s closest equivalents, the M3 Carl-Gustaf 84mm Recoilless Rifle / Multi-Role Man-Portable Anti-Tank Weapon a.k.a. M3 Carl-Gustav Recoilless Anti-Tank Rifle made by Saab AB a.k.a. Saab Bofors Dynamics and the Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) MK153 Mod 0, which is an 83mm multi-purpose recoilless rifle. The M3 Carl-Gustaf is, no doubt, an excellent weapon system, but it is cost-prohibitive (i.e. too expensive) for many armies to procure it in large numbers. The M3 Carl-Gustaf’s relatively high cost (launcher, ammo, and training) has even contributed to its relatively limited numbers in the U.S. military inventory. The U.S. version is designated as the M3 MAAWS (Multi-role Anti-Armor Anti-personnel Weapon System), and is primarily in use with U.S. military Special Operations Forces (SOF) under USSOCOM a.k.a. SOCOM.
Submitted by: REMOV & Pierangelo Tendas