RPG-29 anti-tank rocket launcher
А constant standoff between tanks and anti-tank weapons and a competition between defensive and offensive systems are clearly demonstrated by the development of ants-tank rocket launchers. A wide use of anti-lank rocket launchers, firing shaped-charge rounds, in the post-WWII period resulted in the necessity to upgrade armour protection of main battle tanks.
When tanks were at first fitted with spaced armour, and then composite (multi-layered) armour, the efficiency of anti-tank rocket launchers dropped drastically, thus, leading to the need for more powerful shaped-charge ammunition. As a result, rocket launchers were upgraded again to effectively discharge the task of countering tanks.
The next stage of tank armour development saw development of add-on explosive reactive armour (ERA), which significantly reduced armour penetration of single HEAT warheads. In response to ERA designers developed tandem warhead rounds, which defeated ERA with precursor charges and penetrated core with the main warhead.
Yet another stage of МВТ protection refinement envisioned developed of active protection systems, capable of destroying oncoming ammunition. The competition is still on at the present time.
The RPG-29 anti-tank rocket launcher was developed by Bazall jointly with a number of other enterprises in the mid-late 1980s (for instance, the launcher was designed by the Tula-based TsKIB SCO). The new rocket launcher was expected to replace the RPG-7V and the RPG-16, which were gradually growing obsolete, and to a certain extent the SPG-9M. The new rocket launcher development project was codenamed “Vampir” (vampire). V. S. Tokarev was appointed leading engineer. The RPG-29 anti-tank rocket launcher with the PG-29V round entered the inventory in 1989.
The RPG-29 is designed to kill enemy armour, weapon systems, and manpower in various shelters at a range of up to 500 m. The rocket launcher fires the 105 mm PG-29V round with a tandem shaped-charge warhead, standardised with that of the PG-7VR round, fired by the RPG-7V rocket launcher. The PG-29V is capable of killing hard targets» including tanks with ERA.
The RPG-29 rocket
The rocket launcher is breech-loaded. The powder charge of the rocket motor is ignited by an electric pulse, generated by the trigger assembly generator, mounted on the launcher. The rocket motor only operates while the round is inside the launch tube, after that the round is carried to the target by the momentum, which ensures a high accuracy of fire.
The launch tube folds into two halves of an approximately equal length for carrying. In the travelling position both halves are carried in a special backpack by one man. A round is loaded into the breech. A folding bipod is attached to the bottom of the breech.
The rocket launcher also mounts a side rail for attaching various sights. The RPG-29 is fitted with the PGO-29 day optical sight, while the RPG-29N is equipped with the 1PN51-2 night optronic sight in addition to a day sight. The 1PN51-2 differs from the 1PN51-1 sight in the same way the PGO-29 differs from the PGO-7V — the tangent scale, which takes into account ballistics of various rounds. The rocket launcher is fitted with iron sights as well.
The rocket launcher is manned by a. two-man strong crew, comprising an operator and his assistant.
The PG-29V round is produced by the Planta chemical plant. Its production is based on new technologies, ensuring a high quality.
When Israel suffered heavy tank losses in an armed conflict in Lebanon in Dale summer 2006, it accused Russia of having delivered RPG-29 rocket launchers to Palestinian militants. However, RPG-29s have never been delivered to the Palestinian Authority, they were only sold to Syria. There was no proof, meaning that no rocket launchers were captured in combat, but there were about 50 destroyed Merkava MBTs, including the most advanced ones. Based on the results of combat operations in the Middle East, the USA has decided to revive development of anti-tank rocket launchers.
Refinement of the RPG-29 rocket launcher continued even after it had been fielded. In particular, designers developed the new TBG-29V thermobaric round, as well as automated day and clay/night sights with laser range finders (fire control units). A folding portable mount is also available. All these measured have increased the effective range of fore up to 800 m, which is comparable to that of the good old SPG-9 recoilless gun. However, the RPG-29 is considerably superior to the SPG-9 as far as the power of various munitions is concerned.