Anti-Tank Weapons of The War in Ukraine
We’re now two weeks into the conflict in Ukraine and there has been a steady stream of footage from the frontlines. We’ve seen a lot of knocked-out Russian vehicles and this is due to a large variety of infantry anti-tank weapons which have been used by the Ukrainian forces. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the weapons which have been seen in the field (as of 8 March).
Russian-Designed Anti-Tank Weapons:
As you would expect we’ve seen a lot of the ubiquitous RPG-7 with a range of rounds. In this video of a KORD unit firing on Russian Armour we can see RPG-7s firing PG-7VM HEAT rounds.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 6, 2022
Urban fighting with hit and run RPG-7 attacks:
Ukrainian forces doing the ol' RPG shoot-n-scoot pic.twitter.com/awUZiiOBru
— Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ (@CalibreObscura) March 4, 2022
Members of the Ukrainian Territorial Defense Force destroying a Russian truck with a PG-7VM/S round:
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 3, 2022
A considerable number of single-use Russian-designed launchers are seen too including RPG-22s and RPG-26s. Both these launchers can be seen in this footage:
The unit appears to be armed with RPG-22 & RPG-26 single-use AT weapons, AK-74 & AKM rifles and RGD-5 hand grenades without UZRGM fuzes. pic.twitter.com/7MM5xqpTRI
— War Noir (@war_noir) March 5, 2022
In the footage below we see men, said to be Ukrainian Special Forces, using RPG-26s:
— SOF (@sofarchive) March 1, 2022
A trunk-full of RPG-22s and RPG-26s:
#Ukraine: A selection of single-use AT launchers currently being handed out near the front lines for Ukrainian defenders; multiple RPG-22, and at least one RPG-26.
Observe that one of the RPG-22 units can be seen to have Bulgarian factory markings. pic.twitter.com/A2XoMxpPYV
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) February 25, 2022
The Ukrainian Special Forces appear to be well equipped with anti-armour weapons with RPG-7s, RPG-22s and RVP-16s – a thermobaric rocket launcher, which Ukraine is known to have in production.
Heavier weapons have also been seen including a Russian 9K111-1 Konkurs anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system:
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 8, 2022
And the targeting screen of the Ukrainian-developed Stugna-P 130mm ATGM has been seen in a number of videos:
As usual, possible RK-2S/RK-2M-K Tandem-charge HEAT missiles were used along with "Stugna-P" ATGM system to carry out the attack. pic.twitter.com/OoJR4kMiCI
— War Noir (@war_noir) March 8, 2022
An interesting footnote to this is the American-made RPG-7 clone. The AirTronic Precision Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher (PSRL) is a modernised version of the classic launcher. Ukraine began purchasing them in 2017. We got our first look at one in country in a Russia Today (RT) report on weapons captured following the battle for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Courtesy of RT we get our first look at a an American-made RPG-7, the AirTronic Precision Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher (PSRL). The PSRL-1 emerged from a USSOCOM program in 2015. It entered production in 2016 and Ukrainian made their first purchases in 2017.
— Historical Firearms | Matthew Moss (@historicfirearm) March 9, 2022
Western Anti-Tank Weapons:
The transfer of Western anti-armour weapons started before the war even began. The United States transferred significant shipments of Javelin anti-tank guided missiles and M141 Bunker Defeat Munitions (BDM), also known as SMAW Disposable (SMAW-D), while the UK sent some 2,000 Next Generation Light Anti-Tank Weapons (NLAWs). Once the war began, the range of Western anti-armour systems which have been transferred expanded rapidly!
Javelin and NLAW have already entered the wider popular consciousness and become deeply associated with the conflict already. This is, in part, because the Ukrainian public had been introduced to them as force multipliers before the war began. Below is a Ukrainian government PR photo of President Zelensky examining some newly arrived British NLAWs back in February.
Footage of NLAWs in the field and engaging the enemy have been shared in recent days, below is a video of a pair of Ukrainian soldiers posing with an NLAW each. The NLAW is a single-shot, shoulder-fired weapon which while unguided, has a fire control unit that allows the weapon to predict where the target will be when the missile reaches it, it also had a top-attack mode to target weaker top armor.
Talk about the Ukrainian morale pic.twitter.com/eZdHt957Zw
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) February 26, 2022
In the last few days we’ve seen some spectacular footage of the NLAW being used in the field with Ukrainian soldiers firing one down from a building, almost clipping a ledge once the missile was launched:
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) March 8, 2022
We haven’t yet seen any footage or photos of Javelin in use in Ukraine but sources it is being used very effectively. There have been a number of photos of the Ukrainian Army and National Guard being training on how to use Javelin with ad hoc training sessions photographed, like the one below:
The rest of the weapons sent by the west are predominantly unguided. Some of the weapons which have been confirmed on the ground include a variety of models of M72 LAW, AT4 and Spanish C-90 (M3.5) rocket launchers.
On 27 February, Sweden also announced the transfer of some 5,000 anti-armor weapons, these have been confirmed to be AT4 single-use, shoulder-fired 84mm anti-armor weapons. Photographs of them in depots ready to be issued have been shared and at least one video including one has been shared.
The other prominent weapon which has been shipped to Ukraine is the German Panzerfaust 3. On 26 February, Germany made a major announcement confirming that they would be transferring weapons to Ukraine with an initial batch of 1,000 Panzerfaust 3 shoulder-fired anti-tank weapons. They also cleared the Dutch transfer of an additional 50 Panzerfaust 3 launchers and 400 projectiles. These weapons appear to be now reaching the field. The one seen below is a Panzerfaust 3-IT, with a tandem charge DM72A1 round:
#Ukraine: More foreign military aid delivered to Ukraine – the Ukrainian forces received a batch of German Panzerfaust 3 anti-tank launchers.
Based on previous reports, Ukraine should receive 1400+ Panzerfaust 3 from Germany, the Netherlands and Italy. pic.twitter.com/1jovFuGfgq
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 8, 2022