Bazalt started developing the RPG-18 in the late 1960s, after similar weapons had already been tested in Southeast Asia. V. I. Baraboshkin and I. E. Rogozin were leading designers of the new rocket launcher, codenamed “Mukha” The launcher of the RPG-18, just like those of all follow-up disposable rocket launchers, was developed by the Tula-based TsKIB SOO. Other defence enterprises participated in developing separate crucial components of the rocket.
The RPG-18 launcher is similar to the US M72. The launch tube consists of two telescoping halves. The inner tube is made of an aluminium alloy, and the external half is made of fiberglass. The length of the launcher in the travelling position amounts to only 705 mm. For firing the inner lube telescopes to the rear, the font cover opens automatically, and the sights pop up into the combat position. The length of the rocket launcher in the combat position totals 1050 mm. The RPG-18 weighs 2.6 kg.
The RPG-18 rocket consists of the PG-18 shaped-charge warhead and a rocket motor. The shaped-charge warhead has an armour penetration of up to 300 mm. The RPG-18 features an effective range of fire of 200 m.
Special angular holes in the rocket body, designed for bleeding off powder gases, impart a spin to the rocket inside the launch tube at a rate of about ten revolutions per second. The spin stabilises the rocket and increases the accuracy of fire.
When the RPG-18 was fielded, disposable rocket launchers of various purposes secured their niche in the inventory of both military units and other uniformed services. First they were used as yet another anti-tank weapon, and then they became a powerful means of killing a variety of targets.
Despite the seeming simplicity of such weapons» just a few highly developed countries have so far been able to design and put into production really effective disposable rocket launchers. Russia is undoubtedly one of the leading manufacturers of expendable rocket launchers.
The RPG-18 rocket