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Sergey Suvorov

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nfantry has to handle numerous tasks relevant to

delivering fires on the enemy on the battlefield.
Since such tasks cannot be executed using a
single type of weapons only, e.g. the assault rifle
that is the principal infantry weapon, the need
emerged for fielding the infantry with a system
of weapons featuring different characteristics
and operating principles. Infantry units gradually

40- -40

40-mm VG-40TB
thermobaric round

40- -40

40-mm VG-40MD
multifunction smoke round

9/29/08 5:58:28 PM

adopt sniper rifles, shoulder-fired and mounted
antitank rocket launchers, antitank guided missile
(ATGM) systems, heavy machineguns and then
automatic grenade launchers. Some of the militaries
around the world widely used rifle barrel-launched
shaped-charge and fragmentation grenades.
of the Ministry of Interior and law
enforcement personnel have to perform a very
wide rrange of missions and they often do not know
until tthe very last moment what kind of mission
they will be assigned. Numerous approaches
to accomplishing peculiar, at times very difficult
missions call for relevant gear. Fielding combinedarms or special units with a multitude of special

gear will lead to the swelling of the TO&E of such
A VG-40MD grenade has detonated
units because every squaddie will have to carry
special gear in addition to his organic one. In the
end, a soldier armed to his neck with all weapons
imaginable will resemble a beast of burden.
The problem prompted the designers with the
Research Institute of Applied Chemistry (Russian
-25 -25
acronym NIIPKh) to develop a range of dedicated

assets fit for use by means of organic weapons of

an infantryman. The organic weapon in question
they selected was the 40-mm GP-25 Kostyor under
barrel grenade launcher. Special rounds producing

various effects were developed for the it.
The grenade launcher is designed to kill enemy
manpower both exposed and sheltered in foxholes
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and ttrenches and at the reverse slopes of hills
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means of direct and indirect fires. The GP-25
by me
, enables assault rifles to hit accurately targets

that ccannot be taken out by small arms fire.
Mention should be made that a skilled firer can
hit a standing man-sized target at 200 m with a
grenade. The GP-25s high accuracy has
as made it a

hit wit
with troops. The weapon has been used widely
ut the newly
in many a hotbed of tension throughout
independent states and farther abroad..
el grenade
The strength of the under-barrel
launcher is that the firer can use his assault rifle
ched to the
in full, with the grenade launcher attached
rifle boosting his ability to kill the enemy. The
5 ,56-
de VOG-25
caseless design of the Russian-made

el launchers
and VOG-25P grenades for under-barrel
ng the barrel
allowed ditching the opening and locking
ded underunlike the foreign-made breech-loaded
sign also
barrel grenade launchers. This design
allows aimed plunging fire at an angle of up to
70 deg. and increases the GP-25s usable
rate of fire that is two to three timess
higher than that of the US-made
40-mm M203 under-barrel grenade
launcher. In addition, the Russian
grenade launcher fires rounds of
various lengths, even those that
are longer than the launchers
The grenade launcher is fired when
attached to the 5.45-mm AK74-seriess

(AKS74, AK74M, AEK971, AN-94),

5.56-mm AK101 and AEK-972 and
7.62-mm AKM-series (AKMS, AK103,

AEK-973) assault rifles.
NIIPKh has expanded the capabilitiess
The grenade launchers position
under the barrel enables the
of the GP-25, GP-30 and GP-35 under-firer to use the assault rifles
barrel grenade launchers through
capabilities to the fullest, with
developing advanced 40-mm roundss
the grenade launcher boosting
them considerably
featuring a range of effects.

Several seconds after its detonation

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40- -40

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5 2008

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9/29/08 5:58:33 PM

40- -40

40-mm GDM-40 instantaneous action smoke round

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The 40-mm VG40-TB round with the thermobaric

grenade is designed to kill hostile manpower with
the blast wave and heat both in the open and
in shelters, defilades and behind obstacles. In
addition, the grenade guarantees the destruction of
thin-skinned vehicles, e.g. a car, once it is hit. The
thermobaric grenade features a combined blast,
fragmentation and incendiary effect making it
extremely lethal to enemy personnel and thinskinned vehicles. With the grenades filler weighing
mere 125 g, its wield stands at 300 g of TNT,
packing a punch comparable to that of a 76-mm
blast/fragmentation projectile.
However, the lessons learnt, especially those
learnt from the latest counterterrorist operations,
show that infantrymens tasks on todays battlefield
are not limited to firing on the enemy, but also
include concealing a units manoeuvres, blinding the
enemy, lighting the terrain or target at night, mark
their position, etc. This necessitates carrying signal
or other pyrotechnical equipment in addition to
organic weapons and ammunition, with signal and
pyrotechnic kit requiring extra time to be readied for
use by taking caps off or safety pins out, etc.
To iron out such deficiencies and expand the
capabilities of under-barrel grenade launchers,
NIIPKh has developed a series of special 40-mm
rounds for applications normally handled by special
pyrotechnic equipment.
The 40-mm VG-40MD round with a multifunction
smoke grenade has been developed to set fire
screens in open terrain, buildings and structures,
ensuring simultaneously protective areas for friendly
personnel and conflagration of flammable materials.
The grenade sets the flammables ablaze and creates
at least 10 seats of fire in the open and in buildings
within the 5-m-plus radius from the detonation
point. The seats of fire set ablaze flammables, e.g.
dry vegetation, cloth, paper and flammable liquids,
including when hitting thin-skinned vehicles. The
grenade also can set a continuous smokescreen
up to 5 m long and up to 2.5 m high. The VG-40MD
round is fired by the GP-25, GP-30 and GP-35
under-barrel grenade launchers out to 50-400 m.


A GDM-40 grenade has detonated

1 s after its detonation


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9/29/08 5:58:40 PM

On counterterrorist and conventional military
operations, especially those in urbanised, wooded
or mountainous terrain, or when ambushed by the
enemy, troops often need to buy time to assume a
combat formation, regroup, approach the enemy lines
unobserved from a different direction or protect friendly
personnel from aimed fire. NIIPKh has developed
the 40-mm GDM-40 instantaneous-action smokegrenade round to take care of such tasks. The round is
intended to cover friendly personnel from the enemys
aimed fire on assault and counterterrorist operations. It
generates a continuous aerosol-and-smoke cloud up
to 10 m in length and up to 3 m in height within 12 s
after the detonation. The cloud exists for 2030 s,
which is quite enough for completing a manoeuvre
and breaking contact. The aerosol-and-smoke cloud
can be set at a distance of 4050 m.
Another novelty from NIIPKh has been the
40-mm VG-40SZ round with a stun grenade known
as a flashbang with the troops. The rounds
purpose is to stun the enemy or perpetrators and
render them temporarily inefficient within the range
of the grenade launcher.
When the VG-40SZs grenade goes off, it
produces a blinding flash and a deafening bang.
The acoustic pressure at a distance of 10 m
away from the detonation point is 160 dB at the
least. The simultaneous impact of the two effects
throws a person off balance for a while. Mention
should be made that a similar kit developed

-25 (-30 -35).
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40- -40

40-mm VG-40SZ flashbang round

A VG-40SZ round has exploded indoors

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9/29/08 5:58:41 PM

40- -40


40-mm ASZ-40 Svirel acoustic stun round

An ASZ-40 Svirel is being fired from an under-barrel grenade launcher

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abroad produces a flash that is not so bright and

a bang that is not so loud.
The VG-40SZ has been used for controlling
violent soccer fans and proved to be very effective.
The round is fired by the GP-25, GP30 and GP-35
under-barrel grenade launchers at a range varying
from 50 to 400 m.
Another of NIIPKhs recent developments has
been the 40-mm ASZ-40 Svirel round with an
acoustic stun grenade. The round is designed
to shock the enemy temporarily and disperse
unauthorised rallies, spontaneous crowds and
aggressive groups of people. When the grenades
pyrotechnical device goes off, it produces an
acoustic effect at least 3 s long and a blinding
flash suppressing the enemys or perpetrators
psyche. The acoustic pressure 10 m away from
the detonation point is at least 130 dB while the
maximum brightness of the flash measures 50x106
cd. Mind you, the ASZ-40 round is 380 mm long,
which far longer than the ordinary grenades of the
kind. However, the top-notch design of Russian
under-barrel grenade launchers enables them to fire
ammunition having no stringent length limitations.
NIIPKh has developed a series of rounds with
pyrotechnical features for use with the GP-25,
GP-30 and GP-35 under-barrel grenade launchers.
They include a combined signal round to fire a
coloured-fire signal and a reflected radar signal
simultaneously, a special coloured-signal round
and special illumination rounds.

9/29/08 5:58:42 PM


40- -40

40-mm VG-40OP
parachute illumination


60-mm RDG-M
instantaneous action
smokescreen hand grenade

Thus, NIIPKhs development of the special

grenade series has considerably expanded the
capabilities of the grenade launcher and, hence,
the capabilities of the elements kitted out with such
During present-day combined-arms or
counterterrorist operations, it may so happen,
however, that special ammunition cannot be
fired from under-barrel grenade launchers with
the 50-400-m range due to its design features.
Sometimes, a special round has to be fired in
the immediate vicinity, e.g. within 5-20 m. This
often happens during hostage rescue operations,
assault of individual buildings or rooms, etc. For
such occasions, NIIPKh has developed special
hand grenades featuring various effects.
To set an instant opaque smokescreen allowing safe
manoeuvring in the open and protection from aimed
fire on the battlefield, the company has developed the
60-mm RDG-M instant-smokescreen hand grenade.
Within 12 s after the detonation, it produces a
continuous aerosol-and-smoke cloud up to 10 m
long and up to 3 m high, which remains persistent for
2030 s depending on the speed of the wind.
Conducting special operations to terminate
mass riots and being unable to use lethal force
due to the rules of engagement (ROE), law
enforcers and Ministry of Interior troops can use
60-mm RG-60AZ aerosol hand grenade designed
to produce an irritant-agent aerosol cloud in an
instant. The RG-60AZ does not jeopardise the lives
of both law enforcers and perpetrators. Fragments
of the grenade produced when it goes off may
produce only medium injuries to perpetrators at
1 m away from the detonation point. In addition,
the detonation does not put wooden structures,
finishing agents, dry grass, etc on fire.
The RGR irritating hand grenade can be used for
shocking perps on special operations and during
riot control efforts. Once detonated, the grenade






60-mm RG-60Az aerosol

hand grenade

60-mm RG-60DZ
hand grenade

60-mm RG-60TB
assault thermobaric
hand grenade


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, 5 2008

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9/29/08 5:58:43 PM

60- -60
60-mm RG-60SZ flashbang hand grenade


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60- -60

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ignites the pyrotechnical charge that releases an

irritant agent irritating the eyes, upper air passages
and skin. The pyrotechnical compound burn time is
24 s at the most. The safe distance for a person
not to feel the irritating effect of the gas-and-smoke
mixture is 30 m at the least.
NIIPKhs 60-mm RG-60DZ smoke/incendiary
hand grenade produces unbearable conditions
during confined explosions in buildings, fortifications
and vehicles and sets smokescreens in front of
natural and cultural features. The RG-60DZ may
produce seats of fire in the open and in rooms and
vehicles containing flammables. Once set off, the
weapon produces at least 10 seats of fire within the
5-m radius and a continuous smokescreen at least
8 m long and at least 3 m high.
The 60-mm RG-60TB assault thermobaric hand
grenade has been developed for its combined
effect to kill exposed enemy personnel and those
in various shelters, hunkering down behind natural
features, in enclosed spaces and fortifications.
The impact of the RG-60SZ flashbang on the
enemys psyche reduces his combat capabilities,
thus minimising risks to friendlies on special
operations. Its acoustic pressure at 10 m away
from the detonation point equals at least 160 dB
while the minimal brightness of the flash is 60x106
cd. The simultaneous impact of the two effects on
a person suppresses his will power temporarily.
It is worth mentioning that all of the NIIPKhdeveloped 40-mm rounds for under-barrel grenade
launchers and 60-mm hand grenades have entered
service with Russias uniformed services and
operate efficiently within the 50C bracket. Most
of them are unique.

60- -60
Effects of the 60-mm RG-60SZ flashbang in the open in daytime


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9/29/08 5:58:48 PM