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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

RPG-26 antitank disposable grenade launcher / rocket-propelled grenade (USSR / Russia)

RPG-26 rocket-propelled antitank grenade in ready to fire position (sights raised, red trigger button on the top exposed).

Caliber: 72.5mm
Type: rocket
Overall length: 770 mm
Weight: 2.9 kg complete
Effective range: up to 170 m
Armour penetration: ~ 440 mm

The development of the RPG-26 rocket-propelled antitank grenade was initiated on request from the Soviet army in the year 1980, and in around 1985 it was officially adopted by Soviet army, along with earlier RPG-22 grenade. The RPG-26 was further simplified with introduction of the monobloc, non-telescoping launching tube, and also had improved rocket motor and warhead, which somewhat extended effective range and increased armor penetration by about 10% (compared with RPG-22). The RPG-26 still remains in production in Russia, and is issued by Russian army as a standard personal anti-armor equipment for infantry on foot. The RPG-26 also served as a base for an 'assault rocket-propelled grenade' RShG-2.

The RPG-26 is a disposable, single shot rocket launcher pre-loaded with fin-stabilized rocket. The single-piece smoothbore barrel / container is made of fiberglass. The rocket is contained in the barrel tube, and its solid-fuel motor burns 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. In transport/storage mode both ends of the barrel are closed by the front and rear covers, made of rubber; those covers shall not be removed manually and are destroyed during the rocket launch. Firing mechanism is cocked manually by rising the rear sight; lowering the rear sight de-cocks the firing mechanism so the grenade can be brought back to safe mode if the there's no immediate 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 still in the barrel, accelerating it to about 144 m/s. The shaped charge (HEAT) warhead capable of armor penetration of up to 440 mm of homogenous steel armor.

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