RPO “Rys” (Lynx) recoilless flame thrower / launcher was developed by KBP design bureau, located in Tula, and officially adopted by Soviet army in 1975. It replaced in service older flamethrovers such as LPO-50. RPO was widely used by Soviet forces during Afghanistan campaign. Since late 1980s it was declared obsolete and gradually replaced by more compact and effective RPO-A rocket flamethrower. However, some ex-Soviet states still have stocks of older RPO guns and ammunition, and those may turn up during various local conflicts, such as recent civil war in Ukraine. RPO can be used for all roles suitable for a conventional flame-thrower, offering longer range and much better percentage of flammable liquid delivered directly to the target.
RPO “Rys” is a recoilless multi-use weapon with smoothbore barrel, made from plastic. Its launcher consists of a short barrel with nominal caliber of 110 mm, with attached firing module, pistol grip, iron sights and a folding bipod. Firing unit includes an electrical impulse generator, powered by a manually compressed spring, trigger and a manual safety. Iron sights are graduated up to 400 meters.
Ammunition for RPO is supplied in disposable plastic containers, which are attached to the launcher before firing and serve as a rear part of the barrel. Each container has a propelling charge at the rear and a plastic capsule with 4 liters of highly flammable incendiary liquid. Upon firing, electrical impulse ignites a propelling charge inside its steel container. This container has ports at the front and at the rear. Front ports release powder gases into the container and propel the capsule through the barrel and toward the target; rear ports (nozzles) release powder gases rearwards to compensate for recoil. As a result, back-blast from each firing creates a danger zone behind the launcher, which is 10 to 30 meters long and up to 8 meters wide. Upon discharge incendiary liquid is ignited immediately after leaving the barrel, and the capsule flies to the target as a smoking ball of flame. Upon impact, burning liquid is dispersed on and around the target, creating temperatures in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius. After firing, empty containers are detached from launcher and discarded.
For transportation, ammunition containers are assembled into packs of two, with shoulder straps, so a soldier can carry them into the battle. Typical crew is two soldiers, with single launcher and four rounds of ammunition, two per each man.
Caliber: 110 mmm
Weigth: 3.5 kg (launcher only), 12.1 kg ready to fire
Maximum range: 400 meters