More Whoop As.. Stuff, Part…

A Namenska portable rocket launcher. Namenska.

SHAH ALAM: More whoop a.. stuff, Part… It appears that the Army will be getting an undisclosed number of portable rocket launchers from Serbia and rocket propelled grenades from Romania. This was revealed when the Defence Ministry issued two tenders for multi-modal transport operators to transport the launchers from Serbia and RPG ordnance from Romania, respectively on 17 June 2021.

PERKHIDMATAN MULTIMODALTRANSPORT OPERATOR (MTO)BAGI KONTRAK MEMBEKAL,MENGHANTAR, MENGUJI DANMENTAULIAH LIGHT ANTI TANK WEAPON – SHORTR ANGE (ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADE) UNTUK TENTERADARAT Pakej 1 – Hand GrenadeLauncher with Sight RBR 7.

Specifications: Hand Grenade Launcher with Sight RBR7 Pengangkutan Udara. Daripada Lapangan Terbang yang berkenaan di Belgrade, Serbia ke Lapangan Terbang Antarabangsa Kuala Lumpur dan terus ke destinasi akhir di 91 Depot Pusat Kor Ordnans Diraja,Kem Batu Kentonmen, Kuala Lumpur.

Soldiers carrying Pakistani made portable rocket launchers during the 2018 Merdeka Parade. This is the current standard portable rocket launcher. PDRM picture

Even though the advertisement did not identify the manufacturer, a quick Google search showed the RBR 7 RPG launcher is manufactured by the Namenska company from Serbia. The RBR-7 looked slightly different as it is not fitted with wooden furniture unlike the Pakistani made RPG launcher (also like the Russian made RPG-7V1) in service latter (see the pictures above and below).

A Namenska portable rocket launcher. Namenska.

The Pakistan Ordnance Factory RPG launcher has been in service for at least 15 years now and has been seen with most of the army regular units from the parachute to the mechanised and standard battalions.

A Namenska RBR-7 portable rocket launcher with its sights. The same launcher is also marketed by a Russian company, Valir.

As for the RPG itself, it is manufactured a Romarm, a state owned arms company, a Google search showed.

PERKHIDMATAN MULTI MODAL TRANSPORT OPERATOR (MTO)BAGI KONTRAK MEMBEKAL,MENGHANTAR, MENGUJI DANMENTAULIAH LIGHT ANTITANK WEAPON – SHORT RANGE (ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADE) UNTUK TENTERADARAT Pakej 2 – 40mm Prefragmented Body HE Steel Bomb Round

Specifications: 40mm Prefragmented Body HE Steel Bomb Round Pengangkutan Laut. Daripada Constanta Port, Romania ke Pelabuhan Klang, Selangor dan terus kedestinasi akhir di 93 Depot Pusat Peluru, KemMempaga, Bentong, Pahang. Rujuk Lampiran Q1 danLampiran A1-2 untuk maklumat terperinci.

A soldier getting ready to fire an RPG during 2017 Firepower Demonstration.

As Romarm manufactured five types of the 40mm RPG, it is unclear what type is being imported though.

Three out of five 40mm RPG manufactured by Romarm. I am guessing the third one, the PG-7V round is the one being imported.

I am assuming the new RPG launcher will be distributed to units already equipped with them, while their POF made ones are rotated back down the line to other units like the Rejimen Sempadan.

Russian made RPG-7V portable grenade launcher together with RPG. Rosboronexport.

While I understand the need to have a reloadable light anti tank weapon with our infantry units I believed RPGs especially their launchers are too bulky for our soldiers. That said I have handled and fired an RPG only once during a media tour to Kem Sirajuddin, Gemas in 2016 so my observations could be wrong, of course.

7th Rejimen Renjer DiRaja soldiers with their RPG launchers as they walk in formation to the parade ground in February, 2017.

The M72 LAWs (used by the Parachute Battalions) or the not in service Saab AT4 (also a single shot disposable, AT and all purpose weapons) are more suited to our conditions, they being shorter in length and weight.

A paratrooper firing a LAW as the Pandura team fires en masse. Note the trooper carrying a LAW on his pack. BTDM picture.

Do note that the latest version of the M72 LAW weighs around 3.6kg compared to the RPG launcher 7kg empty with sights and the AT-4 6kg to 8kg (fully loaded with sights). The latest version of the Saab Carl Gustaf 84mm recoiless rifle is 7kg with sights (though this weapon is only issued to the weapons company)
The M72 LAW at the Nammo stand at DSA 2018 and its different warheads (the three below). The first one is the AT version while the second is the anti structure version

The standard RPG warhead weighs around 2.6kg each, usually four are carried in a shoulder harness though I am not sure how many warheads are carried by an infantry section. See the video below to see an infantry section from a mechanised battalion deploying and firing RPGs.
A rifle section moving into position during the 2018 Firepower demonstration. Note that each riflemen are carrying a RPG launcher together with their M4 carbines. BTDM

Note that the MTO advertisements did not specify the number of launchers and ammunition being imported. Our regular commentator, Mike, however stated that we are getting 150 launchers and 2600 RPGs though likely from the unlisted tender for them.

— Malaysian Defence

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Shah Alam

18 Comments

  1. This I believe is the 2nd order from Romania. We ordered RPG reloads from Romania some years ago after it was decided not to source anymore from Pakistan.

    Interesting that we are also getting some from Serbia. Then again we have a long history of buying stuff from Yugoslavia and Serbia; after the break up. By the mid 1990’s following the end of the war in the ex Yugoslavia; companies from Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia were regulars at DSA.

    As it stands the RPG is issued at section level so how we tie it in with the M72 is the question unless of course the M72 will only be issued to units not issued with RPGs. To me it’s telling that we still see the need for a “heavier” reloadable 2 man operated weapon – operated boy of course at section level – to supplement the RPGs and M72s. As for the weight and length of the RPG; for me this is less of a problem compared to the need to carry enough reloads.

    Reply
    The M72s and RPG are issued to the Parachute battalions. However the M72s are only issued to the Pandura platoons while the normal companies are issued with the RPGs. I have not seen the M72s with the mechanised battalions.

  2. Marhalim,

    Are the “wooden” parts on the POF RPGs actually wooden or plastic?

    Reply
    I am not sure really I didn’t touch them when I fired it last time around

  3. The RPGs are issued to the Paras and BIS units. I have the 2002 press release from DSA 2002 which quoted a POF spokesman as saying we ordered 12,000 rounds and ‘x” number of launches (can’t remember at the top of my head) but it was definitely enough to equip a few battalions.

    The brown bits which look like wood on the POF RPG (on the rear of the launcher and the handle) is plastic or polymer.

    On the M72; if you recall many years ago you posted a pic taken by me of a M72 “anti structure” launcher which was used at Lahad Dato. It was displayed by the RMR unit which used it and the unit wasn’t a para unit.

  4. Azlan “The brown bits which look like wood on the POF RPG (on the rear of the launcher and the handle) is plastic or polymer. ”

    The brown insulation on our POF RPGs is a soft silicon like material, held in place by two band clamps. From Marhalim’s pics the RBR-7 has a similar arrangement.

    Separately, the round shown in the “Namenska portable rocket launcher” is OG-7V anti personnel fragmentation round, known as the “pencil.” Surprising that it isn’t seen more often, considering how often RPGs have been fired at personnel.

  5. AM – “considering how often RPGs have been fired at personnel.”

    Probably because although it can be used against personnel thr primary use of the RPG is against vehicles and and structures. On top of that it makes more sense to carry more of the standard HE round as it can be used for a variety of targets unlike a AP round.

    We can safely rule out us getting thermo rounds but it’s hoped that get tandem head rounds – that for me would be much more useful than a AP round.

    Anything thing we have to consider is that in a high intensity environment; having enough reloads will be a problem unless of course we expect every man in the section to lug a round. Speaking of reloads I have no idea how sections in the field carry spare rounds (which are stored in tubes). The Russians and many others still rely on sacks.

  6. I find it a bit ironic that we’re buying things from the Serbs considering that we supported the Bosnians against them during the 93-94 conflict.

  7. ASM,

    You want irony? We captured a small batch of AK-47s during the Confrontation. For their upcoming invasion of East Timor the Indonesians requested we return the rifles. More irony : during the Confrontation the Indonesians supported left wing mostly Chinese volunteers in Sarawak. These later became PGRS and after the Confrontation the Malaysian army participated in joint sweeps with the TNi along the border against the PGRS.

    We have a long history of buying stuff from the former Yugoslavia. This no surprise that we’d later continue buying from Serbia. Something else ironic is MALBATT deploying Yugoslav sourced 81mm mortars to Bosnia.

    I can give you more ironic stories – related to the Philippines – but that’s a story for another time.

  8. “I can give you more ironic stories – related to the Philippines – but that’s a story for another time.”

    In all seriousness, please enlighten us. Malaysians know so little about their military history, in great part because they are availed of so few sources.

  9. Just for comparision pakistan made n serbian made… just one look is world apart…egronomicaly serbian made is better in terms of the trigger handguard n shoulder guard plus the scope..n not to mention after sales service…

  10. POF just made direct copies directly from Chinese made ones which in turn were copies of Soviet/Russian ones whose design hasn’t changed much since the RPG was first introduced decades ago.

    For me the pertinent question is which round lasts the longest. RPG rounds in general have a 10 year shelf life and Soviet/Russian ones are known for their durability. On the other hand there have been cases of rounds which have been buried and stored longer than 10 years which work just fine when fired.

  11. “For me the pertinent question is which round lasts the longest. RPG rounds in general have a 10 year shelf life and Soviet/Russian ones are known for their durability. ”

    I’m aware that some armies take ammo out of their stockpiles well before it is ten years old. If it cannot be expended in practice and exercises, it is disposed of. Does our army follow the same practice?

    The lifespan of ammo depends on things like heat, humidity, the quality of packaging and whether the packaging has been opened and properly resealed.

    Even if certain ammo works well for ten years, what sort of shelf life does the manufacturer officially support?

  12. AM – “Does our army follow the same practice?”

    All the services do; when possible.

    AM – “The lifespan of ammo depends on things like heat, humidity”

    Indeed but due to circumstances ammo can’t always be stored in conditions specified by the OEM.
    In a perfect world all ammo would always be stored in temperature controlled spaces but it isn’t always possible or practical.

    Even if it is possible; ammo has to be transported and issued to troops in field conditions and kept there for certain periods. A less than perfect alternative to temperature controlled spaces would be ACs but the risk is that it can also lead to a build up of moisture; especially with electronics.

    AM – “what sort of shelf life does the manufacturer officially support?”

    Varies. Depends on the type of ammo. Bullets, shells, etc tend to have much longer shelf lives than say rockets or missiles. As a rule of thumb the first to go in missiles are the circuitry and propellent.

    There also will be times when ammo has lasted longer than what the OEM specified and and times vice versa.

    AM – “the quality of packaging and whether the packaging has been“

    I have no idea if this is still the case but according to a ex DDR Fulcrum pilot whim I corresponded with years ago; AAMs were stored in orange/yellow protective packaging.

  13. Azlan “Indeed but due to circumstances ammo can’t always be stored in conditions specified by the OEM. In a perfect world all ammo would always be stored in temperature controlled spaces but it isn’t always possible or practical. ”

    Yes, but there are various workarounds. If certain magazines offer poorer conditions than others, then rounds from those depots will tend to be issued first- where possible. Ammo kept in poorer conditions will have a shorter lifespan before it is declared unusable. Regular sampling is carried out to see if this lifespan should be increased or decreased.

    Azlan “. Bullets, shells, etc tend to have much longer shelf lives than say rockets or missiles.”

    True, although brass from opened packaging tends to turn green, long before the propellant starts to degrade. I was told this for the most part does not have practical implications.

    AM “The lifespan of ammo depends on things like heat, humidity, the quality of packaging and whether the packaging has been opened and properly resealed”

    I should add that packaging can involve the quality of shock and moisture proofing, whether an anti-corrosion or anti-oxidation primer is applied (some are very pungent or themselves corrosive to weapons these rounds are fired from), and the quality of the primers. Wooden boxes are very heavy and unfriendly to people who have to carry them, plastic boxes are much better.

    Azlan “AAMs were stored in orange/yellow protective packaging.”

    I suspect this was a moisture resistant film similar to Mylar. Being expensive, AAMs would have better packaging than other sorts. Another factor with AAMs is the number of flight hours a missile can be hung on a fighter’s wing before it is sent back to the factory for checks. There is a rumour that Chinese AAMs have a low lifespan in flight hours compared to Russian or Western ones, which is why live rounds are seen to be carried less frequently.

  14. AM – “ although brass from opened packaging tends to turn green”

    Verdigris.

    AM – “most part does not have practical implications.”

    Yes. Zero effect.

  15. AM – “please enlighten us”

    “Blowback” … For obvious reasons it’s not something we want to talk about but if one knows where to look there are quite a few primary and secondary sources.

    Not surprising. For some reason we don’t even have an official history of the 2bd Emergency. With the Confrontation we wanted to pretend as though it never happened as Indonesia was our new “friend”. Even the TNI doesn’t have an official history of “Dwikora”; unsurprising as it was a failure. It does however have official histories of the invasions of Dutch Guinea and East Timor.

    Something someone should do is (will never happen) to pay for the translation of the volumes of the official Japanese War History on the Malaya/Singapore campaign. Lots of interesting stuff here from a Jap perspective; including the fights against the Malay Regiment.

    The Japanese War History has about 120 volumes. The only ones translated are the volumes of the Dutch East Indies campaign paid for by the Dutch government and the volume of the Kokoda Trail paid for by the Australian War Memorial.

  16. @Azlan

    Just saw a few YouTube documentaries covering the Japanese invasion of Malaya. Interesting history, and they even had footages from the Australian War Memorial.

    I always wonder why we shy from talking about conflicts happened in our land, truth too bitter to be accepted and better swept under rugs?

  17. P.S.

    There is a very well researched detailed book on the 2nd Emergency done by a local academic. Problem is it’s in the 400RM range. In the early 2000’s the army did do a coffee table book on the 2nd Emergency but a lot of details are lacking.

  18. One way ATM can increase the lethality of their RPG7 is to make aiming a lil more ‘smarter’, Belorussia has got a computer guided sighting system called “PD7” which when used with their own RPG7 is called “OvodR”. The advantage of this sighting system is compatibility to existing RPG7s so either we could get it as standalone for our existing units or procure the OvodR system as whole.

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