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RPG-76 Komar antitank rocket grenade launcher (Poland)

The RPG-76 Komar antitank rocket grenade launcher is a disposable single-shot weapon intended for use against armored targets.

 

RPG-76 Komar antitank rocket grenade launcher
the RPG-76 Komar antitank rocket grenade launcher in the “carry”/”transport” configuration, with the shoulder stock folded

 

The development of a new, lightweight single-shot antitank weapon was initiated in Poland in 1971, under the program code-named “Argon”. Originally it was a joint project between Polish and Bulgarian organizations, where Bulgarians were primarily concerned with the projectile (rocket), and Polish engineers were responsible for the launcher and system integration. However, shortly before the adoption Bulgarian team has left the project and it was finalized by the Polish team alone.

 

The first prototypes were designated RPG-76 “Komar” (Mosquito) and were tested in 1976. Initial production commenced in 1981 and mass production and deliveries began in 1983. By that time the RPG-76 was too “weak” to deal with frontal armor and turrets of contemporary main battle tanks, but it was still useful against the weaker side or rear armor of tanks, as well as against relatively lightly-protected armored personnel carriers and other military vehicles. Mass production of the RPG-76 Komar grenade launchers was completed by 1995, and in the early 2000s most of these launchers were withdrawn from the service and put into the storage. However, during the involvement of the Polish armed forces in NATO operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, some RPG-76 were brought back to service, to be used against enemy firing positions, buildings, and cars, including improvised suicide-bombing vehicles.

 

a Polish soldier aims with the RPG-76 Komar grenade launcher
a Polish soldier aims with the RPG-76 Komar grenade launcher

 

The RPG-76 Komar grenade launcher is a single shot, disposable weapon. It fires a rocket-propelled PG-76 grenade with a shaped-charge HEAT warhead, which is capable of penetrating up to 260mm of rolled steel armor. The rocket grenade is patterned after the Soviet PG-7 round, used in the famous RPG-7 grenade launchers. The key difference is that PG-76 does not have a booster recoilless charge, and its rocket motor ignites immediately at the launch. To save the operator from the rocket motor blast, its forward-located nozzles are angled outwards at about 45 degrees, which also decreases its useful thrust. The HEAT warhead has a base fuse with a self-destruct function, which automatically blows the warhead up when it reaches the range of about 400 meters. In-flight stabilization is achieved by rotation, impaired by angled rocket nozzles, and by a set of four switch-blade fins attached to the rear of the rocket motor body.

 

RPG-76 Komar
The main components of the RPG-76 Komar: a PG-76 rocket-propelled grenade with its fins extended, and a disposable launcher tube in the ready-to-fire configuration, with the shoulder stock unfolded

 

The disposable launcher itself uses an aluminum alloy launch tube (barrel), which is loaded at the factory and is discarded after the rocket is fired. The launch tube has a firing mechanism built into its closed rear end. The mainspring for the firing mechanism is located inside the tubular strut of the folding shoulder stock. When stored in the folded position, the main spring is not compressed. It is cocked automatically when the stock is unfolded into the firing position and relaxed again when the stock is folded up. This ensures the safety of the launcher in the folded position and permits re-cocking of the firing mechanism in the case of a misfire. The top-folding stock has a folding buttplate which must be manually rotated into the firing position or back.

 

The firing button (trigger) is located at the bottom of the firing unit and is covered by a spring-loaded safety cover which must be opened down and forward immediately before firing. Iron sights consist of a fixed front sight and a folding ladder-type rear sight, which automatically flips up into the firing position when the shoulder stock is unfolded. The rear sight has three aiming notches, for ranges of 50, 150, and 250 meters. The launch tube also has a label with simple firing instructions and a carrying sling.

 

The RPG-76 specifications:

  • Caliber: 40 / 68 mm
  • Length: 1190 mm in firing position, 810 mm folded
  • Weight: 2.1 kg
  • Maximum effective range: 250 meters
  • Armor penetration: 260 mm RHA