M80 Zolja

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For other uses, see M80.
M80 Zolja
Zolja1.jpg
The M80 Zolja in collapsed position
Type Anti-tank rocket launcher
Place of origin SFR Yugoslavia
Production history
Designer Military Technical Institute Belgrade
Designed 1980
Manufacturer Sloboda Čačak
Specifications
Weight 3 kg
Length 800 mm
Barrel length 1,200 mm

Caliber 64 mm
Muzzle velocity 190 m/s
Effective firing range 220 m

The M80 Zolja (English: Wasp), is a portable one-shot disposable 64 mm unguided anti-tank weapon, designed in the former Yugoslavia. The M80 Zolja is still produced in Serbia and in the Republic of Macedonia.[citation needed]

Description[edit]

Made of fibre-reinforced plastics, the M80 Zolja is designed to be used by an individual against armoured fighting vehicles or fortifications.

The M80 Zolja is a single-use recoilless weapon which is characterized by its simple operation and lightweight characteristics. The launcher and the container are incorporated into a single unit. The M80 Zolja is similar to the American M72 LAW in both appearance and performance.

Launcher[edit]

The M80 Zolja launcher is telescoping which is intended for easier transportation. The launchers consists of a forward and rear tube made of fibre-reinforced plastic, a firing mechanism, front and rear aiming sights, a carry handle, front and rear caps to keep debris out and a sling.

Aimsight of 64mm M80 "Zolja" RPG launcher
Aiming the M80 "Zolja"

Rocket[edit]

The 64mm anti-tank rocket is located in the rear of the launcher. The rocket consists of an explosive warhead, stabilizer wings and a rocket.

The M80's warhead has the potential to penetrate 300 mm of solid steel at a 90-degree angle. The warhead may be fitted with an impact and piezoelectric blasting mechanism. A self-destruct mechanism is also integrated into the rocket which ensures that the rockets self-destruct if the target is not hit within 4 to 6 seconds of flight. The rocket propellant is only fired while in the tube, which propels the rocket to a speed of 190 m/s. This speed ensures that the rocket reaches its 240 m range at a 2.5 meter target.

Operation[edit]

The launcher is held in both hands. The operator opens the covers on both ends of the launcher, grasping the forward tube piece firmly with his left hand the operator pulls the back tube outwards with a sharp, hard pull. If the launcher has been successfully cocked, the back piece will not slide in. The operator assumes a correct firing position, keeping in mind the backblast zone of the launcher, takes aim through the flip up sights and squeezes the trigger to fire the rocket. Afterwards the empty tube is disposed of.

Use[edit]

The M80 was widely used in the Yugoslav Wars and Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia. Many units ended up in civilian hands and have been used in a number of violent incidents. The weapon has also been used by organized crime; one such incident was a November 1999 assassination attempt in downtown Zagreb, when the projectile ricocheted off the target's armored car and killed an innocent bystander. Members of the Zemun Clan at one time considered using the M80 to attack the former Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić's motorcade.[1][2]

Specifications[edit]

Launcher[edit]

  • Length:
    • Extended: 1,200 mm.
    • Closed: 800 mm.
  • Weight:
    • With rocket: 3 kg.
    • Without rocket: 1.58 kg.
  • Firing mechanism: Percussion.
  • Front sight: reticle.
  • Rear sight: peep sight.

Rocket[edit]

  • Caliber: 64 mm
  • Length: 664 mm
  • Weight: 1.42 kg
  • Muzzle velocity: 190 m/s
  • Minimum range (combat): 10 m
  • Maximum range: 1,280 m (3,300 ft)
  • Penetration: 300 mm

Maximum effective range[edit]

  • Stationary target: 220 m

Operators[edit]

Map with M80 operators in blue and former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]

  •  Croatia - Withdrawn from use, replaced by Swedish made AT4.
  •  Slovenia - Withdrawn from use, replaced by German made MATADOR.
  •  Yugoslavia - Passed on to successor states.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]