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RPG-16 (Grom)
Type Rocket-propelled grenade Launcher
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1970–present
Used by Red Army, airborne soldiers
Wars 1979-1989 Afghanistan campaign
Production history
Designed 1968
Weight Launcher, 20.7lbs (9.4kg); Rocket, 6.6lbs (3kg)
Length Ready, 3.6' (110.4cm); Carrying, 25.3" (64.5cm)
Crew 2 men standard

Cartridge 58.3mm Warhead
Rate of fire 4-6rpm
Muzzle velocity Rocket: Initial, 426.5f/s (130m/s); Max 1148.2f/s (350m/s)
Maximum range 500-800m
Sights Optic Sight

The RPG-16 is a handheld anti-tank grenade launcher for anti-tank warfare. The RPG-16 was developed in 1968, and adopted by the Red Army in 1970 for special operation teams [1] and the Soviet airborne troops (VDV). These were deployed during the Soviet-Afghan war in 1979-1989, and saw service in several battles in that theatre.

The RPG-16 has a 58 mm barrel with a HEAT warhead [2] and has a smoothbore recoilless launch using a rocket booster. Its overall length is 1,104 millimetres when ready to fire. It is 645 millimetres long when taken apart for carry or airdrop. Its weight is 9.4 kilograms when unloaded, when it has its optical sight the RPG-16 weighs 12.4 kilograms (when loaded and ready to fire). The RPG-16's effective range is up to 800 meters (about 2,500 ft). The RPG-16's armor penetration is 300 mm of rolled homogeneous armour. The RPG-16 is triggered to launch by an electric current activated by a trigger on the pistol grip. Once fired, the rocket booster engages as soon as the warhead is propelled safely away from the operator.

Compared to its main counterpart, the RPG-7, the RPG-16 has a smaller calibre warhead and a more powerful rocket booster, which made the RPG-16 more accurate over long ranges. Unlike the RPG-7, the warhead does not stick out of the launcher since it has exactly the same diameter as the tube and fits entirely inside the tube. The smaller warhead does however sacrifice firepower when compared to the PG-7VL round used in the RPG-7. (Which has 500mm RHA penetration, as opposed to the 300mm penetration the RPG-16 provides.

In Soviet service, the launcher was issued to special operation teams in pairs. One man, the grenadier, carried the launcher and two PG-16 HEAT warheads. Another man, the assistant, carried three more warheads.


[3] Externally the RPG-16 resembles the RPG-7, it is distinguished mainly by its single handgrip under the tube and folding bipod, but its round is quite different from the RPG-7. The RPG-16 round is also of smaller calibre but offers better performance, having what is believed to be a doubled shaped-charge warhead. It is a one-piece design, although a cartridge must be attached before use. RPG-16 is reported to have HE-Frag round.

Other Russian rocket propelled grenades


  3. Isby, David C, (1988). Weapons And Tactics Of the Soviet Army(Fully Revised Edition). United Kingdom: Jane's Publishing Company Limited. pp. 199–200. 

See also

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