From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
RPG-29 launcher with PG-29V rocket
Type Rocket-propelled grenade
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In service 1989–present
Used by Russia, Mexico, Hezbollah, Ukraine, Hamas, Syria, Pakistan
Wars 2003 Iraq war, 2006 Lebanon War, Syrian civil war
Production history
Designer Bazalt
Designed late 1980s
Manufacturer Bazalt, SEDENA
Produced 1989
Weight 12.1 kg (27 lb) unloaded (with optical sight)
18.8 kg (41 lb) loaded (ready to fire)
Length 1 m (3 ft 3 in) (disassembled for transportation)
1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) (ready to fire)

Cartridge PG-29V tandem rocket
TBG-29V thermobaric rounds
Caliber 105 mm (4.1 in) barrel
65 and 105 mm (2.6 and 4.1 in) warheads
Muzzle velocity 280 m/s (920 ft/s)
Effective firing range 500 m (1,600 ft)
800 m (2,600 ft) (with tripod and fire control unit)[1]
Sights Iron, optical, and night sights available with ranges up to 450 m (1,480 ft); automated day and day-night sights with laser rangefinder[1]
Blast yield 750 mm (30 in) RHA
600 mm (24 in) RHA after reactive armor effects
1,500 mm (59 in) Reinforced concrete or brick
3,700 mm (150 in) Log and earth fortification

The RPG-29 (NATO designation: Vampir) is a Russian rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launcher. Adopted by the Soviet Army in 1989,[2] it was the last RPG to be adopted by the Soviet military before the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. The RPG-29 has since been supplemented by other rocket-propelled systems, such as the RPG-30 and RPG-32 "Hashim". The RPG-29's PG-29V tandem-charge warhead is one of the few anti-tank weapons that can penetrate the frontal hulls of Western composite-armored main battle tanks, as well as Russian T90 & T80U MBTs equipped with Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armour. [3][4][5]


The RPG-29 is a shoulder-launched, unguided, tube-style, breech-loading anti-tank rocket system with a range of 500 meters. The light weapon is designed to be carried and used by a single soldier. On the top of the launch tube is a 2.7×1P38 optical sight.

When launched, the missile deploys eight fins as the rocket leaves the launcher, stabilizing the rocket during flight, up to a range of 500 meters.[6]

Two projectiles are available for the weapon:

  • The TBG-29V thermobaric anti-personnel round.
  • The PG-29V anti-tank/anti-bunker round has a tandem-charge HEAT warhead for defeating explosive reactive armor (ERA). This warhead comprises two charges—an initial small charge triggers any reactive armor. If ERA or cage armor is absent, this charge strikes the main armour. Behind the primary charge, a much larger secondary shaped charge bursts at the rear of the initial warhead and projects a thin, high-speed-jet of metal into the armour compromised by the first charge.

The RPG-29 is unusual among Russian anti-tank rocket launchers in that it lacks an initial propellant charge to place the projectile at a safe distance from the operator before the rocket ignites. Instead, the rocket engine starts as soon as the trigger is pulled, and burns out before the projectile leaves the barrel.

On the bottom of the tube is a shoulder brace for proper positioning along with a pistol grip trigger mechanism. A 1PN51-2 night sight can be fitted.[7]


The RPG-29 was developed during the late 1980s, following the development of the RPG-26, and entered service with the Soviet army in 1989. It has recently seen intermittent use by irregular forces in the Middle East theater, including in combat against U.S./U.K. forces during the Iraq War, and the 2006 Lebanon War, when it was used against Israeli forces.

2003 Iraq War[edit]

  • The RPG-29 is believed to have been used in skirmishes against U.S. and British mobilized forces during the initial 2003 invasion of Iraq.[8]
  • In August 2006, an RPG-29 round was reported to have penetrated the frontal ERA of a Challenger 2 tank during an engagement in al-Amarah, Iraq, maiming one and wounding several other crew members, but only lightly damaging the tank, which drove home under its own power.[9]
  • On August 25, 2007 a PG-29V hit a passing M1 in the hull rear wounding 3 crew members.[10] On September 5, 2007, a PG-29V hit the side turret of an M1 tank in Baghdad, killing 2 of the crew and wounding 1, and the tank was seriously damaged.[11]
  • In May 2008, The New York Times disclosed that another M1 tank had also been damaged by an RPG-29 in Iraq.[8][12] The US Army ranks the RPG-29 threat to armor so high that they refused to allow the newly formed Iraqi army to buy it, fearing that it would fall into insurgent hands.[13]

2006 Lebanon War[edit]

During the conflict, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz stated that the RPG-29 was a major source of IDF casualties in the 2006 Lebanon War.[14] A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry denied that Russia had supplied arms directly to Hezbollah.[15] Shortly before the end of the conflict the Russian Kommersant magazine acknowledged through anonymous sources the possibility of a weapons transfer between Syria and Hezbollah during the Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon.[16]

Russian Tank Armour Tests[edit]

The RPG-29 has been used, along with other anti-tank weapons, to test the armour strength of the Russian T90 main battle tank. On October 20th 1999, extensive trials of the armour of the T90 as well as a T80 from various types of weapons took place at the TsNIIO 643a testing facility in Russia. The trials involved firing large amounts of ordnance - including several RPGs, heavy ATGMs and APFSDS rounds - at the front turret and glacis of T-80U and T-90 tanks both protected with Kontakt-5 ERA and stripped of it. [17]

Of the 5 times the T90 was hit by the weapon, the RPG-29 was able to penetrate the frontal armour of the tank 3 times - even when the T90 was protected with Kontakt-5 ERA. One AT-14 Kornet ATGM managed to penetrate the frontal armour of the stripped target, but none of the ERA-protected tanks. The T-80U was penetrated 3 times by the RPG-29 with Kontakt-5 fitted, and all 5 times without Kontakt-5 fitted.

The RPG-29 proved to be by far the most potent weapon among those used in the trials - consistently assuring the frontal penetration of the T-80U. Even though the T-90 fared better, the tank is still not immune to it. Considering sufficient proliferation of the weapon and the fact it is fairly light & easily transportable by infantry, the RPG-29 is arguably the most dangerous light AT weapon against modern Western and Russian MBTs. Until more advanced armour is developed for the T90, the only effective defences the tank has against the RPG-29 are active protection systems such as the Trophy, which (mounted on Israeli Merkava tanks) has intercepted RPG-29s and AT-14 Kornets during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza in 2014.[18][19]



Map with RPG-29 operators in blue and former operators in red

Current operators[edit]

Former operators[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Russian Close Combat Weapon. Moscow: Association "Defense Enterprises Assistance League". 2010. pp. 444–447. ISBN 978-5-904540-04-3. 
  2. ^ "Modern Firearms - RPG-29". World.guns.ru. Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  3. ^ Rayment, Sean (2007-05-13). "MoD kept failure of best tank quiet". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2015-05-12. 
  4. ^ Litovkin, Viktor (11 Aug 2006). "RPG-29 To Blame In Lebanon". spacewar.com. Retrieved 12 May 2015. 
  5. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20080129043924/http://russianarmor.info/Tanks/TRIALS/19991020.html
  6. ^ OPFOR Worldwide Equipment Guide, TRADOC DCSINT Threat Support Directorate, US Army, via Scribd, 2001 
  8. ^ a b Michael R. Gordon (May 21, 2008). "Operation in Sadr City Is an Iraqi Success, So Far". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ Sean Rayment (May 12, 2007). "MoD kept failure of best tank quiet". Sunday Telegraph. 
  10. ^ "Iraq War Diary". wikileaks.org. 
  11. ^ "Iraq War Diary". wikileaks.org. 
  12. ^ "RPG-29 vs M1A2". LiveLeak.com (video). Retrieved 2012-01-29. 
  13. ^ Craig S. Smith (August 28, 2005). "Big Guns For Iraq? Not So Fast.". New York Times. 
  14. ^ Schiff, Ze'ev (6 August 2006), Hezbollah anti-tank fire causing most IDF casualties in Lebanon, Haaretz 
  15. ^ Russia denies sending anti-tank weapons to Hizbollah - ministry, RIA Novosti, 10 August 2006 
  16. ^ Russian Minister says Russia, Israel have settled differences over Hezbollah arms, International Herald Tribune, 20 October 2006, archived from the original on 2006-11-26 
  17. ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20080129043924/http://russianarmor.info/Tanks/TRIALS/19991020.html
  18. ^ http://news.walla.co.il/item/2770561
  19. ^ http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f0a_1406051216
  20. ^ http://www.militaryfactory.com/smallarms/detail.asp?smallarms_id=487

External links[edit]