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Antitank disposable grenade launcher / rocket-propelled grenade RPG-18 (USSR / Russia)
Caliber: 64 mm
Overall length:705 mm when stored, 1050 mm in ready to fire position
Weight: 2.6 kg complete
Effective range: up to 150 m
Armour penetration: ~ 300 mm RHA
The RPG-18 (RocketPropelled Grenade in Soviet / Russian nomenclature, as itwas considered as a single round of ammunition [grenade] rather than a weapon [grenade launcher]) was adopted by Soviet army in 1972. Most probably, its development was inspired by US-made M72 LAW disposable anti-tank weapons, which saw significant use during Vietnam war. Indeed, th eRPG-18 bears more than passing resemblance to the M72 LAW in its design and appearance. The RPG-18 was produced for Soviet (and later Russian) army up until early 1990s, and is now obsolete.
The RPG-18 is a disposable,single shot rocket launcher pre-loaded with fin-stabilized rocket. The smoothbore barrel / container is made from two parts, aluminum inner tube and fiberglass outer tube. The inner tube is telescoped into the outer tube in storage / transport position, and is pulled out and to the rear priorto firing.The rocket is contained in the inner tube, and its solid-fuel motorburns out completely within the barrel. Because the barrel is open at the rear to avoid recoil, there is a dangerous backblast area behind the firing weapon,at least 15 meters (45 ft) long. In transport/storage mode both ends of the barrel are closed by the front and rear covers, which are opened automatic ally when inner tube is pulled out. This movement (opening of the launcher tube) also automatically extends the folding open sights.Firing mechanism is cocked manually by rotating the rear sight rear and then releasing it, so it springs back to vertical position. Once cocked, the firing mechanism cannot be set to safety, and the cocked grenade should be dischared into the safe direction if there's no target. The rocket is fin-stabilized (with four switch-blade like fins at the rear), and its solid-propellant motor burns out completely while rocket is stillin the barrel, accelerating it to about 114 m/s. The shaped charge(HEAT) warhead is loaded with 312 gram of explosive charge, resulting in armor penetration of up to 300 mm (1 feet) of homogenous steel armor.