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Norinco Type 69 RPG
A Type 69 RPG and a pair of Type 56-2 assault rifle.
Type Anti-tank, Anti-personnel, rocket-propelled grenade
Place of origin  China
Service history
In service 1970–Present
Used by See Users
Wars Vietnam War
Cambodian Civil War
Cambodian–Vietnamese War
Sino-Vietnamese War
Soviet war in Afghanistan
Sri Lankan Civil War
War on Terror
Iraq War
2008 Cambodian-Thai stand-off
Production history
Designer Norinco
Designed 1970
Manufacturer Norinco
Variants Type 69-I
Weight 5.6 kg (12.3 lb)
Length 910 mm (35.8 in)
Crew 1 or 2, depending on situation

Cartridge 40 mm (1.57") barrel
85mm warhead
Effective range 200 m (656 ft)
Maximum range 600 m (1,968 ft)
Feed system one round per shot
Sights Iron sights. Infrared and night vision sights possible

The Type 69 85mm rocket propelled grenade (RPG), made by Norinco, is a Chinese copy of the RPG-7. First introduced in the early 1970s, the Type 69 RPG is a common individual anti-tank weapon in service with the PLA. New types of grenade rounds have been developed in the 1980s/90s to meet the requirements of modern battlefields.



The Type 69, like its predecessor the RPG-7, is one of the most popular infantry anti-tank and general support weapons in the world. It is robust, cheap, easy to operate and effective. From Afghanistan to Somalia, from Chechnya to Angola, the weapon is well liked by many infantrymen and guerrillas around the world.

The origin of the RPG can be traced back to the World War II German Panzerfaust, based on which the Soviets have developed a range of grenade launchers. Among these the most successful design is the RPG-7, which was first fielded by the Soviet Red Army in 1961. Since then, the weapon has entered service with over 40 countries’ armies, and is copied in many countries including Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Cambodia, China, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Romania, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.[1]

Chinese service

Type 69 RPG found in Northern Gaza.

China first obtained the RPG-2 85mm anti-tank RPG in the early 1950s, and began to build its Chinese copy in 1957 under the designation Type 56. However, the rapid development of the new generation main battle tanks (MBTs) in the early 1960s has posed new threats to the PLA, which was later proven in the 1969 Sino-Soviet border conflict. Because the Type 56 was unable to penetrate the armour of the new generation Soviet tanks such as the T-62, the PLA desperately needed a new individual anti-tank weapon to replace the aging Type 56.

The reverse-engineering on the RPG-7 began in the early 1960s, and made demonstrations to the senior PLA officials in 1964. The Chinese copy of the RPG-7, designated Type 69, received its design certificate in 1970. The weapon entered service with the PLA in the mid-1970s, and took part in the 1979 Sino-Vietnam border conflict to provide platoon-level anti-personnel and anti-obstacle fire support. Its performance was highly praised by the troops.

As well as being equipped by the PLA, the Type 69 has also been exported in significant numbers to many foreign customers, including the Mujahideen in Afghanistan under the covert co-operations between China and CIA in the 1980s against the Soviet Union.


The production of the Type 69 RPG stopped in the mid-1980s. As the weapon become less effective in modern land battlefield, the Type 69 RPG is being gradually replaced by the PF-89 80mm anti-tank grenade launcher, the FHJ-84 twin 64mm rocket launcher and the Type 91 35mm automatic grenade launcher. An improved version of the Type 69 RPG called the Type 69-I is also being manufactured.[citation needed]

PLA formation

A standard PLA infantry squad has two Type 69 RPG operators, each carrying one RPG launcher and three grenade rounds. There are also two assistant operators, each carrying three grenade rounds. A squad has a total of two launchers and 12 grenade rounds. In the light infantry troops deployed in the mountain and jungle regions in Southern China, the Type 69 RPG are equipped by the fire support platoon in the infantry company.

Design features

The Type 69 is a shoulder-launched, muzzle-loaded anti-tank and anti-personnel grenade launcher which launches a variety of fin-stabilised, over-sized grenades from its 40mm tube. The launcher has an optical daylight sight and (optional) infrared night vision to provide increased fire accuracy. In general, the Type 69 is a low-cost, easy-to-use weapon with a significant firepower. It is sometimes referred to as “infantry artillery” or “pocket artillery”. The type 69 RPG is a copy of the Soviet RPG-7 but not a direct copy. The Type 69 does not have a forward grip like the soviet RPG-7 it was left out to lower production cost.

The Type 69-I has major improvements, including a shorter launch tube and modifications for the launcher to fold into two when not needed for mobility purposes.

RPG rounds

Afghan National Police officer fires a Type 69 RPG round at a special mission conducted by U.S. Army.

Although the design of the grenade launcher has not changed significantly since it was introduced nearly thirty years ago, many new types of grenade rounds have been developed over the years to provide enhanced capabilities, including:[2]

Type 69 High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): Basic grenade introduced in the PLA during the 1970s with the Type 69. Currently phased out of PLA service.

Type 69-I Hollow Charge High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): Standard HEAT grenade developed for the PLA in the 1980s. Hollow warhead was created with improved armor-piercing capabilities.

Type 69-II High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): Same as the Type 69-I HEAT grenade, except that it is improved to defeat modern armored vehicles that are equipped with anti-tank missile plating.

Type 69-III High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): Same as Type 69-II, improved for increased range and further improved armor-piercing abilities.

Type 84 High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT): Made in the 1980s as a lighter warhead with the ability to be fired from long range with claims that the rocket is not affected by side winds. Usable with both Type 69 and 69-I rocket launchers.

Type 69 75mm Airburst Anti-Personnel High-Explosive (HE): Created for anti-personnel purposes. This is mostly meant to combat against entrenched forces since the rocket, after gaining impact on the ground, bounces to a chest height of around 2m then airbursts over the target area, scattering about 800 anti-personnel steel balls over a lethal radius of 15m.

High-Explosive / High-Explosive Anti-Tank (HE/HEAT): Used for anti-armor and anti-personnel combat. Even though it has 1,500 prefabricated fragments, which scatter over a 20m radius on detonation, the rocket retains its anti-tank capabilities.

Anti-Personnel High-Explosive Incendiary (HEI): Created for use in certain environments such as jungles and mountains, it has 900 steel balls and 2,000 to 3,000 incendiary pellets that scatter over a 15m radius on detonation.

Tandem-Warhead Anti-Tank Grenade: Estimated to be used in the 1990s, it is meant to penetrate vehicles with the Explosive Reaction Armor or ERA. Even though it can not defeat most modern vehicles, lighter vehicles such as APCs and AFVs can be destroyed with this rocket.

Illumination Grenade: Equipped with a small parachute to suspend it in mid air while being used, its effective range is 600m with the braking ring and 1,500m without it.


See also


External links

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