Automatic grenade launcher

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An automatic grenade launcher or grenade machine gun is a grenade launcher firing rounds[1] in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine.[2][3][4][5]

These weapons are often mounted on vehicles or helicopters, as when these weapons are moved by infantry the weapon, its tripod, and ammunition, are a heavy load, requiring a small team of men.[2] The Mark 19 Automatic Grenade Launcher, first fielded by the Americans in 1966, and still widely used today, weighs 62.5 kg, when attached to its tripod, and loaded with a box of ammunition.[3] The popular Mark 19 is capable of indirect fire to 2,200 metres, an indirect fire role traditionally reserved for mortars. Even though the round carries less explosive than a 60mm mortar shell, this is thought to be counterbalanced by its much higher volume of fire.

The most popular caliber for automatic grenade launchers in the west has been 40mm.[2][3] The Soviet Union successfully fielded a 30mm grenade launcher, the AGS-17 during its war in Afghanistan, in 2002, Russia introduced a successor weapon, the AGS-30, and in 2017, AGS-40 Balkan.[6] Traditional munitions for automatic grenade launchers include high explosive, fragmentation, and shaped charge for attacking light armored vehicles. Less lethal rounds, like tear gas and sponge rounds, for crowd control, have also been made. In the 21st century, AGLs have been made with integrated sight/range systems which can set a fused round to detonate precisely on, above, or behind a designated target.[6][7]

Different weapons use different methods of operation, with "blowback" and "long recoil" being two popular choices.[2] In all these weapons the energy released by firing a round loads the next round into the weapon's breech. The popular Mark 19 is automatically reloaded through the blowback method, where expanding gases blow back the firing bolt.

In the long recoil method the bolt is fixed to the firing chamber, and the whole firing chamber is blown back. These weapons are slightly less accurate, but weigh less than blowback weapons.[8] General Dynamics manufactures a long recoil weapon, the Mark 47 Automatic Grenade Launcher, as does the Spanish firm Santa Bárbara. The LAG-40 manufactured by Santa Bárbara has a relatively low rate of fire -- 215 rounds per minute.

Comparison[edit]

Caliber Range Muzzle
velocity
Rate of
fire, rpm
Approx.
weight[A]
Feed,
rounds
Sights[B]
Effective Maximum
Mk 19 Mod 3
[9]
40×53mm 1,500 m (4,900 ft) 2,212 m (7,257 ft) 241 m/s (790 ft/s) 325‑375 35.2 kg (78 lb) Belt, 32, 48 Night vision
Mk 47 Striker
[10][11]
40×53mm 1,700 m (5,600 ft) 2,200 m (7,200 ft) 225‑300 41 kg (90 lb) Belt, 32, 48 FCS, Thermal
LWAGL 40×53mm
HK GMG
[12]
40×53mm 1,500 m (4,900 ft) 340 61 kg (134 lb) Belt, 32 Reflex, "Various"
SB LAG 40
[citation needed]
40×53mm 1,500 m (4,900 ft) 240 m/s (790 ft/s) 215 67 kg (148 lb) Belt, 24, 32 Night vision
STK 40 AGL
[13]
40×53mm 1,500 m (4,900 ft) 2,200 m (7,200 ft) 242 m/s (790 ft/s) 350‑500 33 kg[14] Belt, 32 Reflex, FCS, Thermal
K4
[15]
40×53mm 1,500 m (4,900 ft) 2,212 m (7,257 ft) 241 m/s (790 ft/s) 325-375 34.4 kg (76 lb) Belt, 24, 48 -
Howa Type 96
[16]
40×53mm
[citation needed]
1,500 m (4,900 ft) 250‑350 24.5 kg (54 lb) Belt, 50
Denel Y3 AGL
[17]
40×53mm 2,200 m (7,200 ft) 242 m/s (790 ft/s) 280‑320 53 kg (117 lb) Belt, 20 Optical, Indirect electronic sight
UAG-40
[18]
40×53mm 2,200 m (7,200 ft) 240 m/s (790 ft/s) 400 31 kg (68 lb) Belt, 32 Optical, Infrared, Photo‑Visual, Electronic[19]
AGA‑40 Md.85
[20][C]
40×74.5mm 1,400 m (4,600 ft) 1,550 m (5,090 ft) 216 m/s (710 ft/s) 380‑450 33 kg (73 lb) Mag., 10
AGS‑30 Atlant
[21][22][23]
30×29mm 2,100 m (6,900 ft)[D] 185 m/s (610 ft/s) 400 17.5 kg (39 lb) Belt, 29 Optical, Day‑Night, Radar sight
AGS‑40 Balkan
[25][26][27]
40x53mm
(caseless)
2,500 m (8,200 ft) 400 32 kg (71 lb) Belt, 20 Optical
Type 87
[E][28][29]
35×32mm 600 m (2,000 ft) 1,750 m (5,740 ft) 200 m/s (660 ft/s) 500 20 kg (44 lb) Mag., 6, 9, 12, 15 Optical
  1. ^ Without ammo, with default sigts.
  2. ^ Normally include iron sights.
  3. ^ Production status is unclear.
  4. ^ VOG-30: 1,700 m (5,600 ft); GPD-30: 2,100 m (6,900 ft); GPD-30M (under development): 2,500 m (8,200 ft).[24]
  5. ^ Can be fired from bipod.

Ammunition[edit]

40×74.5mm [20] 30×29mm 40mm "Balkan" 35×32mm [29]
HE HEAT VOG-30 [30][31] GPD-30 [23][32] 7P39 [26][33] HE HEAT
Max. range 1,550 m (5,090 ft) 1,700 m (5,600 ft) 2,100 m (6,900 ft) 2,500 m (8,200 ft) 1,750 m (5,740 ft)
Muzzle velocity 223 m/s (730 ft/s) 185 m/s (610 ft/s) 200 m/s (660 ft/s)
Weight 490 g (1.08 lb) 348 g (0.767 lb) 340 g (0.75 lb) 430 g (0.95 lb)
Shell weight 260 g (0.57 lb) 275 g (0.606 lb)
Filling 47 g (1.7 oz) 90 g (3.2 oz)
Kill radius/area 10 m (33 ft) 90 m2 (970 sq ft) 120 m2 (1,300 sq ft)
Penetration 50 mm (2.0 in) 80 mm (3.1 in)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-12-11. Retrieved 2017-08-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ a b c d "CASW (Close Area Suppression Weapon System) Automatic Grenade Launcher — MERX Notice of Proposed Procurement". Canadian American Strategic Review. August 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-06-05. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  3. ^ a b c "Background – CASW Project – Company Area Suppression Weapon". Canadian American Strategic Review. December 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2015-03-09. In its current form, the Mk19 mod 3, this AGL has become the weapon of choice among US ground troops in Iraq – primarily because the AGL offers both direct (to 1,600 meters) and indirect fire (to 2,200 meters).
  4. ^ Spencer C. Tucker (20 May 2011). The Encyclopedia of the Vietnam War: A Political, Social, and Military History. ABC-CLIO. p. 431. ISBN 978-1-85109-961-0. Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  5. ^ Dennis J. Blasko (17 June 2013). The Chinese Army Today: Tradition and Transformation for the 21st Century. Routledge. p. 168. ISBN 978-1-136-51997-0. Archived from the original on 19 May 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b "A new generation of AGLs". Armada International. 2002-04-01. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2015-03-09.
  7. ^ Us Future Combat & Weapon Systems Handbook. International Business Publications. 30 March 2009. p. 265. ISBN 978-1-4387-5447-5. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  8. ^ "Background — CASW Candidates Operating Systems – Long Recoil". Canadian American Strategic Review. December 2008. Archived from the original on 2009-08-08. Retrieved 2015-03-09. The long recoil operating system’s obvious advantage is the compact gun body. While this compensates for the weapon’s internal complications, that moving barrel might also result in first-round aiming inaccuracies. The AGL designers are willing to overlook this in exchange for reduced weight (in comparison to a blowback design) and for the portability inherent in a smaller weapon (even if weight reduction is modest). In any case, great accuracy is not the forte of the AGLs.
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ "Mk47 Striker40: GD's Auto-Programmed 40mm GMG". Defense Industry Daily. 9 August 2010. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Modern Firearms". World.guns.ru. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  12. ^ "Heckler & Koch :: Home". Heckler-koch.com. Archived from the original on 8 April 2019. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
  13. ^ "CIS 40AGL" (PDF). Stengg.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-01-28. Retrieved 2019-05-31.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. ^ "Defense Products - S&T Motiv" (PDF). S&T Motiv. Archived (PDF) from the original on 13 September 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2015.
  16. ^ "96 formula 40 mm automatic gun gun". via wayback machine. 6 January 2009. Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  17. ^ "40 ml Y3 AGL" (PDF). Iieexport.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-22. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  18. ^ "Leninska Kuznya Plant Joint Stock Co". Lk.com.au. Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  19. ^ "мотреть Український автоматичний гранатомет УАГ-40 онлайн". Video.i.ua. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  20. ^ a b "munitie ag 40 Archives - Romania Military". Romania Military. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2013-05-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Open Joint Stock Company "V.A.Degtyarev Plant" / AGS-30 30 mm antipersonnel automatic grenade launching system". Kbptula.ru. Archived from the original on 2014-10-27. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  23. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-06. Retrieved 2013-05-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. ^ "Archived copy" Артиллерийский снаряд к нарезному оружию (in Russian). Findpatent.ru. 19 March 2013. Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  25. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2017-08-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  26. ^ a b "Lenta.ru: Оружие: Вооружение: Россия вооружится новым крупнокалиберным гранатометом" (in Russian). Lenta.ru. Archived from the original on 1 May 2015. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  27. ^ "Modern Firearms". World.guns.ru. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  28. ^ "Modern Firearms". World.guns.ru. Archived from the original on 29 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  29. ^ a b "QLZ87 35mm Automatic Grenade Launcher". Archived from the original on February 12, 2013. Retrieved May 11, 2013.
  30. ^ "Выстрел ВОГ-17 (ВОГ-17А) / ВОГ-17М / ВОГ-30 / ГПД-30". Weapon.at.au. Archived from the original on 21 October 2014. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  31. ^ "Archived copy" Книга: Боевое стрелковое оружие России (in Russian). E-reading-lib.org. Archived from the original on 9 June 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20090306043430/http://www.tulatskib.ru/patr_pdf/GPD30.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 6, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2013. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ Russian Close Combat Weapon, pp. 496–497.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Russian Close Combat Weapon. Moscow: Association "Defense Enterprises Assistance League". 2010. ISBN 978-5-904540-04-3.