Yasin (RPG)

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Yasin (RPG)
Type Anti-tank, Anti-personnel
Place of origin Palestine
Service history
In service 2004–Current
Used by Hamas
Wars al-Aqsa Intifada, Gaza War
Production history
Designer Adnan al-Ghoul
Designed Believed to be in 2004
Manufacturer Hamas
Produced 2004–Current
No. built 2,000
Specifications
Weight 7 kg (15 lb)
Length 95 cm (37")
Crew 1 or 2, depending on situation

Caliber 40 mm (1.57") ; 85mm. Warhead
Muzzle velocity 295 m/s
Effective firing range 300 m
Sights Iron sights.

The Yasin (Arabic: ياسين ‎‎) anti-tank rocket launcher is a weapon developed by Hamas' Ezzedeen-al-Qassam brigades named after the group's spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yasin, who was killed by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on March 22, 2004.

History[edit]

Apparently first used during the battle of Jabalya in October 2004, the Yasin was reportedly developed by Hamas' engineers under the direction of Adnan al-Ghoul, killed in Gaza by the IDF on October 22, 2004. The weapon resembles the Soviet RPG-2 and RPG-7 launchers. It serves as Hamas' anti-tank rocket launcher.[1]

At the end of 2005, the Ezzedeen-al-Qassam brigades released a video providing insights about the production of the Yasin antitank rocket launcher.

On June 19, 2005, an Israeli soldier was killed in the Gaza Strip by a rocket of this type near Rafah, and on October 2, 2005, a confrontation between Hamas and the Palestinian Police led to the death of the police commander of the Shati refugee camp in Gaza after a Yasin rocket struck the room where he was hiding.

Following the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip by Israel and the ensuing temporary truce observed by Hamas, it is widely believed that an amount of up to several thousands of Yasin projectiles were manufactured and stocked by Hamas by the end of that year. Israeli officials also expressed concerns over the fact that Hamas is trying to transfer knowledge and technology to make those rocket to its cells in the West Bank.

Description[edit]

The projectile is manufactured in two parts: the propellant charge is assembled in a cylindrical tube, containing a solid fuel which is most likely common black powder, and the head of the projectile is essentially a body tube, tail, and nose cone made of pressed sheet metal.

The explosive is shown in the Hamas production video as a molten yellow liquid, being combined with a finely granulated white powder in a boiler and poured into the warhead. This explosive is likely molten TNT being combined with powdered ammonium nitrate - a powerful, inexpensive explosive compound known as Amatol.

The warhead appears to be a shaped charge type, as a Hamas worker can be seen working a lustrous metal cone into a position inverted under the warhead nose, before final addition of the explosive. In the video the cone appears to be made of aluminum with a wide apex angle, suggesting according to the principles of shaped charge design that the warhead has low penetration but a highly destructive pyrotechnic effect. The detonator is briefly shown in the video, and appears to be a simple base-impact type using a retaining spring and weighted firing pin suspended above an explosive primer and the detonator. A safety pin holds the firing pin in place until the weapon is ready for use.

Six spring-steel folding fins are then added to the tube-like tail of the warhead body and pinned down with a plastic retaining ring so that they will unfold upon the warhead leaving the launch tube. The warhead body is then attached to the propellant charge via threads behind the tail fins, and the completed projectile-propellant assembly is inserted into the launcher tube to complete the weapon.

The fabrication process is performed in basic metal workshops using ordinary shop tools, but the conception and engineering of the weapon seems to attain a high degree of sophistication and professionalism given the low-technology of the design. The launching tube is also manufactured by the so-called "production units" of the Ezzedeen-al-Qassam brigades, modeled roughly on the appearance of the RPG-7 Russian rocket launcher. The total design of the weapon however does not appear to be derived from the RPG-7 itself, but rather its predecessor - the RPG-2.

In operation, the user would arm the weapon by removing the warhead safety pin that retains the detonators striker. The weapon is then aimed with the built-in iron sights, and the hammer on the fire controls would be cocked with the users thumb. When the trigger is pulled, the hammer falls onto a percussion primer which ignites the black powder propellant charge. Part of the explosive force is blown out the rear of the tube as back-blast, which provides a recoilless effect. The warhead is ejected from the front of the tube by the exploding propellant, and the spring-steel fins unfold to stabilize the projectile in flight. The warhead then travels in a ballistic arc until it impacts the target. Yasin projectiles do not accommodate an onboard rocket for extending its range. On impact, the internal firing pin is thrown forward by the sudden deceleration, forcing it into the detonator's primer and igniting the warheads explosive charge. This powerful explosion inverts and compresses the aluminum warhead liner, projecting it forward as a penetrating jet of high-temperature, burning aluminum that can defeat the target.

The effectiveness of the weapon was demonstrated in the video, showing it able to pierce a thick brick wall without difficulty and inflict limited damage to a 2-inch thick metal plate. It is unlikely that this type of rocket could actually significantly damage an Israeli Merkava tank or Armored Personnel Carrier, often targets of attacks by the Ezzedeen-al-Qassam brigades. Due to the shaped charge liner material and probable explosive used, the Yasin is more likely intended for use against soft-skinned and lightly armored targets like transport trucks, HMMWVs, enemy soldiers behind cover, and passenger craft.

In Media[edit]

The Yasin RPG appeared and was mentioned by name on the May 9, 2006 episode of PBS TV's Frontline program.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]