Military Review

Hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher AirTronic PSRL (USA / USSR)

Modernization of old, but successful weapons allows relatively quick and easy to obtain a certain increase in characteristics and then update the arsenals. This approach to development weapons actively used in various fields and is not something unusual. Nevertheless, some models of weapons, created according to this principle, may be of great interest. For example, a curious example of the modernization of the old and widespread system is the American anti-tank grenade launcher AirTronic PSRL.

At the heart of the PSRL project was the desire of the development company to offer potential buyers an updated version of the long-known and popular weapons. It was supposed not to master the production of the finished sample, but to create on its basis an updated and improved design. During the development of such weapons could use modern materials and components of one kind or another.

PSRL grenade launcher without additional equipment with shot type PG-7В

As a basis for a new project, American engineers from AirTronic USA took the old Soviet anti-tank RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher. This product appeared in the early sixties and since then remains in service with many armies in the world. For more than half a century, more than 9 million such grenade launchers have left the assembly line, and the ammunition produced for them simply cannot be counted. Nevertheless, despite the large number and special popularity among the armies, the RPG-7 in the basic configuration and its existing modifications may not fully suit the operator.

The authors of the long-term project considered that the Soviet-made grenade launcher was too heavy and inconvenient to operate, showed insufficient firing range, and besides, it had insufficient resources. Thus, the development of the existing sample had to go along the path of technological processing of the structure, improving ergonomics and combat performance. To solve this problem, it was possible to preserve the general features of the architecture, but all the main structural elements should be replaced.

The new upgrade project for the RPG-7 is called PSRL (Precision, Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher - “High-precision rocket launcher for firing from the shoulder”). Later, in connection with the appearance of new modifications, the names PSRL-1 and PSRL-2 were introduced. Another result of the development of original ideas was the emergence of a modernized grenade launcher called the GS-777. It is easy to see that the authors of new projects for some reason refused any hints on the basic model of the family.

The PSRL project was completed in 2015, and soon military-technical exhibitions began to demonstrate prototypes of two grenade launchers, differing in certain characteristics and capabilities. According to various sources, in the future, AirTronic USA managed to find customers and sell a number of serial grenade launchers. Thus, the original version of the existing weapon was able to confirm its potential to a certain extent.

For more convenience, the weapon can be equipped with an additional butt.

One of the main goals of the PSRL project was to maintain full compatibility with all existing shots for the RPG-7. To this end, it was decided not to subject the existing design of the trunk to serious modifications. As before, the proposed use of a smooth barrel caliber 40 mm. The muzzle of this product has a cylindrical shape and a diameter corresponding to the caliber. In the middle of the barrel is a large charging chamber, necessary for the proper use of powder gases. The back of the barrel again has a reduced diameter and ends with a small nozzle-socket. The total length of this barrel - 915 mm. To increase the strength and increase the service life, it was proposed to manufacture the barrel of steel grade 4140 / 4150 without using casting.

On the outer surface of the barrel with the help of clamps and other fasteners are installed various additional devices. Some of the mounted units were already present in the basic design, while some were used for the first time. In its place, in front of the barrel directly in front of the charging chamber, a pistol grip with a trigger mechanism was preserved.

Charging camera has lost its standard wooden lining. On the upper and lower surfaces of the PSRL-1 stem, it is proposed to install Picatinny trims of different lengths. The top one is intended for mounting the sight, and the bottom one is suggested to be used for mounting the second vertical grip. Thus, like the Soviet grenade launcher, the updated weapon retains the two-handed grip, but now the grenade launcher can set the handles to the most convenient position in accordance with their wishes and requirements. A variant of a grenade launcher equipped with a rifle-type telescopic butt was also demonstrated. Such a butt makes it more convenient to rest the weapon on the shoulder.

The rear part of the charging chamber, the interfaced part of the barrel and the socket are equipped with a new heat shield. Instead of the tree used in the RPG-7, it is now proposed to use plastic. As before, the housing consists of two main parts of a semicircular cross section, fastened together with several clamps.

Lightweight GS-777 grenade launcher

The trigger mechanism without significant changes is borrowed from the basic design. Like the RPG-7, the new PSRL should fire with a trigger type trigger. Actually the trigger is placed in the back of the handle and cocked manually. Fire control is carried out using the trigger, covered with a large protective bracket. A pistol grip fits under the trigger box. To simplify production, this part was borrowed from the AR15 series rifles.

Determining the appearance of a promising grenade launcher, the specialists of AirTronic USA considered the Soviet-developed standard sight insufficiently effective and inappropriate to modern requirements. To solve this problem, they created their own version of the sight with enhanced characteristics. As stated, the new PSRL 3.5 X 24mm riflescope allows firing at 2500 feet (about 800 m) with the likelihood of hitting the target with the first shot at 90%. In a press release, the manufacturer noted that the serial RPG-7 showed such efficiency only at half the distances. Acceptable accuracy is maintained at large distances, as claimed, up to 1000-1200 m.

From the very beginning, the most important requirement was put to the PSRL project: despite all the changes, the upgraded grenade launcher had to maintain full compatibility with the existing shots for the RPG-7. Preserving the caliber, the design of the barrel and the trigger mechanism allows US grenade launchers to use existing caliber grenades with different warheads.

The company-developer has previously announced its intention to develop a new ammunition that is compatible with a grenade launcher of its design. Such work was supposed to be carried out jointly with Chemring Ordnance. A new ammunition was supposed to be created on the basis of existing rocket-propelled grenades and equipped with guidance tools. Due to this, the effective firing range was supposed to bring to 1,5-2 km. New reports on the progress of such a project were not published. Probably, the project of a guided grenade encountered some difficulties and, as a result, it was not even brought to the test.

Another option GS-777, characterized by the location of the slats

Later, AirTrinoc USA introduced a new version of the Precision grenade launcher, the Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher, which had some differences from the previous development. Thus, the barrel underwent new modifications. Now his life has been brought to 1000 shots. In addition, the existing installation tools were added. The PSRL-2 project proposes the installation of a larger number of Picatinny planks. Now these devices are located on the upper, lower and lateral parts of the barrel, both near the muzzle and on the charging chamber.

In accordance with the idea of ​​designers, the front plates can be used for mounting aiming devices (upper and side) or bipods (front lower). Similarly, you can use the four strips on the charging chamber. All this allows you to install additional equipment in the most convenient way.

Depending on the configuration and modification, the PSRL anti-tank grenade launcher has a length of no more than 950 mm (excluding grenades) and weighs 14 pounds (6,35 kg). Thus, in its dimensions, the modernized grenade launcher hardly differs from the basic weapons of the Soviet development.

In some situations, such weapons may not be easy to use. In this regard, on the basis of developments in the PSRL program and some new ideas, AirTronic USA created another option for developing the RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher. This product has received the designation GS-777. Such weapon differs from the previous American development in reduced weight.

GS-777 without scopes, etc. equipment

The main ideas of the GS-777 project were related to the design of the trunk. At preservation of the form and other parameters, this part should now be made of a lighter metal alloy and differ in reduced weight. Some other measures have also been taken to reduce the weight of the weapon assembly. Thus, the "light" grenade launcher lost a plastic lining in the rear of the barrel. Safety arrow should now be provided only Picatinny rail, prominently protruding above the surface of the trunk. To install the sight is intended for one long bar on the upper or left surface of the barrel. The additional handle can be mounted on a single bottom plate, located under the charging chamber.

The GS-777 hand-held anti-tank grenade launcher is almost the same as the base RPG-7 and PSRL. However, its mass does not exceed 8 pounds - about 3,5 kg. This greatly facilitates the transportation and use of weapons, but does not adversely affect the fighting qualities.

The company-developer has already opened acceptance of orders for the production of several types of grenade launchers. The existing production capacity allows it to produce up to 1000 products per month, in accordance with the schedule established in the contract. The grenade launchers are given a two-year limited warranty, valid in case of detection of factory defects.

In addition to the actual weapons, the American company offers potential customers a large number of different accessories to it. Covers and cases for grenade launchers, special backpacks for carrying shots, extra cleaners, spare parts, etc. are produced.

One of the configuration options for the PSRL grenade launcher

The main goal of the Precision program, the Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher, was to create an updated and revised version of the RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher with the subsequent launch of mass production at the AirTronic USA plant. The main customers were considered the military departments of the United States and friendly states. The fact is that within the framework of assistance programs to third countries, the Pentagon purchases some inexpensive weapons, including RPG-7, and transfers them to friendly armies. According to this principle, assistance is provided by the armed forces of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

For objective reasons, weapons for friendly states are purchased, first of all, from Eastern European countries - Poland, Bulgaria, etc. The situation with ammunition for such weapons is similar. The new PSRL grenade launcher, fully compatible with existing shots, was planned to be offered to the US military as a good alternative to foreign products. In this case, orders for the production of grenade launchers and grenades for them could receive a domestic enterprise, and not foreign factories.

According to available data, AirTronic USA has already managed to receive and execute several orders for the production of grenade launchers of the new family. PSRL and GS-777 serial products were transferred to several foreign countries, but the exact list of operators has not yet been disclosed. Apparently, the new grenade launchers were sold or transferred to the closest allies of the United States, still using Soviet-made weapons.

A few days ago, there was information about the receipt of a certain number of PSRL-1 grenade launchers by one of the armed formations of Ukraine. How and in what quantity these products fell into the neighboring country is unknown. The published information suggests that for the time being we are talking only about familiarizing personnel with a foreign novelty.

Accessories offered by the manufacturer

The Precision program, the Shoulder-fired Rocket Launcher, implemented by US companies AirTronic USA and Chemring Ordnance is of particular interest. Based on the desire to select future orders from foreign manufacturers of weapons, US companies have developed several of their own versions of an existing grenade launcher. For competitive advantage, the base sample has been upgraded. The result of this was the emergence of weapons with increased resource and, in one of the modifications, with a reduced mass. In addition, according to the developer, with the help of a new sight it was possible to improve the accuracy of shooting.

In the initial configuration, American-made grenade launchers retain basic characteristics at the level of the base RPG-7, although it has certain advantages over it. In the course of the subsequent development of the existing structure, it was planned to create a guided munition capable of increasing the range and accuracy of shooting. Messages about the successful solution of this problem have not yet appeared.

The American modernized version of the Soviet grenade launcher is designed to fill a specific niche, while it is mainly occupied by products of Eastern European production. To obtain its share of such a market and provide an advantage over its competitors, the basic successful design has undergone a certain modernization. As far as we know, the grenade launchers of the new family have already been the subject of several orders, which makes it possible to consider the PSRL project a good one.

On the materials of the sites:


Photos used:
AirTronic USA /

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  1. Bootlegger
    Bootlegger 17 July 2017 15: 34
    how things went with copying everything from the USSR by amerikos I think that soon the frets and kirzachs at home will begin to stamp. but I think it’s best to start with Gorbachev lol
    1. Basarev
      Basarev 22 July 2017 19: 40
      It’s just not to our liking that we ourselves copy back. In the USSR there was a great idea of ​​a grenade launcher: a relatively narrow launch tube and a powerful shotgun. Power can be increased by simply increasing the diameter of the shot. But in the new grenade launchers they went along the western path - a shell in a pipe, bulky and heavy.
  2. atesterev
    atesterev 17 July 2017 15: 59
    Everything new is well washed old smile
  3. alex-cn
    alex-cn 17 July 2017 16: 27
    In general, they only "beautifully painted" the good old RPG, the only thing that a sight to it is really possible and better.
    1. seos
      seos 17 July 2017 17: 22
      Some modifications reduced the weight 2 times, and some increased the accuracy 2 times .... RPG-7 is being upgraded not only in the USA but also in many other countries .... in general, everything except us .....
      1. garri-lin
        garri-lin 17 July 2017 21: 53
        Lose weight. Well done. This is a huge plus especially for sabotage groups. For work in the mountains and hilly "green" for paratroopers.
        But I won’t believe in increasing the accuracy of accuracy. In RPGs, it all depends on the grenade and not on the barrel. I believe a precision guidance over long distances due to the sight of better quality and greater magnification.
        1. MaksoMelan
          MaksoMelan 18 July 2017 01: 27
          Well, the ammunition is probably also modernized. Given the use of old options.
  4. tracer
    tracer 17 July 2017 16: 41
    1. Großer feldherr
      Großer feldherr 17 July 2017 18: 11
      It also caught my eye, but this is an ordinary advertising article, I did not expect more to expect.
  5. Großer feldherr
    Großer feldherr 17 July 2017 18: 26
    Such a modernization. Picatinny bars, an aergonomic handle, sights ... combat effectiveness will add exactly zero. The wooden cover was only on the first models, now and everywhere we have plastic.
    The barrel is still the same all-steel, although the RPG has long been asking for its replacement with a carbon-fiber one with a steel inner surface, like that of the same Karl Gustav, the mass will be reduced significantly. At least the useless folding was removed, and then well done, someday ours will come up with this.
    1. garri-lin
      garri-lin 17 July 2017 21: 44
      The tube of the barrel is too thin strength will greatly decrease. Will have to do very thick-walled. You can dream about a titanium barrel. But darling will come out a toy.
      1. Großer feldherr
        Großer feldherr 18 July 2017 04: 51
        Carbon fiber in itself is lightweight and in some types of load it is much stronger than steel, in this case we are interested in its phenomenal tensile strength.
        There will be practically no load on the "inner" steel barrel, its function is to protect the main one - the external "carbon barrel". The same “Karl Gustav” with such a barrel showed himself perfectly, but he has much more load on the barrel because of the rifled barrel.
        1. garri-lin
          garri-lin 18 July 2017 09: 51
          I mean bending / breaking strength. Karl has a large diameter pipe and this kind of resistance to loads is correspondingly greater. An RPG has a trunk of 4 cm in diameter. Do not bend in the trench.
          1. kytx
            kytx 18 July 2017 10: 28
            on a bend-kink here in carbon fiber everything is in order. he doesn’t like shock loads - he is pricking. Americans seemed to make rpg7 - a purely sovetsky rpg7 only coal pipe, lightweight. and if you screw the guided munition to it, this will be a completely different thing. imho is not real :)

            PS. Karl Gustav with rifled and this is not gut
  6. Alf
    Alf 17 July 2017 19: 27
    The new PSRL 3.5 X 24mm riflescope allows you to fire at a range of 2500 feet (about 800 m) with a 90% chance of hitting a target with a first shot.

    At 800 meters hit 90% ??? No, well, I understand that you don’t ... you won’t live, but, Misters, it’s not worth it.
    The grenade remained the same.
    1. Graz
      Graz 17 July 2017 20: 52
      rather, they mean their own ammunition, not Soviet
      1. Alf
        Alf 17 July 2017 23: 06
        Quote: Graz
        rather, they mean their own ammunition, not Soviet

        And how will their ammunition differ from ours?
        The new PSRL grenade launcher, fully compatible with existing shots,

        If this grenade launcher is compatible with our shot, you won’t put a grenade with an enhanced charge of propellant into it. Otherwise there will be a situation - One shot, one shooter and a pipe with a rose.
        1. Lexa-149
          Lexa-149 18 July 2017 14: 25
          Modernization may not be a starting charge, but the propellant of a marching engine. This will increase the flight speed of the grenade.
        2. combat192
          combat192 6 February 2018 21: 50
          The trouble (though not such a misfortune) of all modifications of the RPG-7 is that for each type of grenade, of which there are at least eight, you need your own shooting skill, and not just the reticle in the sight. Achieved by exercise.
  7. Babalaykin
    Babalaykin 17 July 2017 21: 04
    So many years have passed since its inception, but they haven’t come up with anything new. That's what conceptually sound solutions mean.
  8. garri-lin
    garri-lin 17 July 2017 22: 32
    For the RPG, it is long overdue the need to create a new sighting system and a new "guided" ammunition.
    The sight must combine optical and thermal imaging channels and have a laser rangefinder. Plus a laser to illuminate the target for GOS grenades.
    Develop grenades with a laser seeker.
    To develop grenades with a programmable detonation point and directional formation of a fragmentation field for firing at sheltered infantry. Practical efficiency will increase at times when firing new ammunition and minimun twice when firing old.
    This will be a modernization. Well, for the public, you can screw a couple of quick-detachable picatinny strips and paint everything with glossy enamel.
    1. Alf
      Alf 17 July 2017 23: 09
      Quote: garri-lin
      The sight must combine optical and thermal imaging channels and have a laser rangefinder. Plus a laser to illuminate the target for GOS grenades.
      Develop grenades with laser seeker

      Let's get satellite navigation there again. And then we will wonder why the cost of the complex will compare the cost of the Ax.
      The fact is that in the framework of assistance programs to third countries, the Pentagon purchases some inexpensive weapons, including RPG-7, and transfers it to friendly armies. According to this principle, assistance is provided by the armed forces of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc.

      Here the keyword is Inexpensive. The army of Afghanistan, the spirits, who yesterday got off the baobab, the word "laser guidance" will be just an empty phrase. They both aimed at direct fire from the nearest blow, and they will aim.
      1. garri-lin
        garri-lin 18 July 2017 01: 59
        I do not propose changing the existing RPG; I propose creating a sight that can be installed on standard weapons if necessary. Let every 7th RPG XNUMX in the army be equipped with such a sight. Or every five hundred. Better of course every tenth.
        1. alstr
          alstr 18 July 2017 10: 35
          I would suggest a simple machine with a remote sight. So that you can put the border on the machine and remotely (at least several meters) to control the aiming. This will increase the survival rate and accuracy of aiming at least in defense. And if you still make management away, then what ambushes can be done.
        2. Sgray
          Sgray 18 July 2017 10: 37

          A key feature of the Ovoda-R is the PD-7 sight, equipped with an integrated laser range finder, a ballistic computer, as well as temperature, atmospheric pressure and wind sensors. As soon as the target is fixed by the operator, the built-in calculator automatically corrects the position of the aiming mark, and the arrow can only pull the trigger.

          Will this work?)
  9. tchoni
    tchoni 18 July 2017 08: 46
    It seems to me that the American comrades did not catch the very essence of the idea: weapons should be simple, that stick. And deshovym. What they did is undoubtedly a good thing, but there will be no sense from it.
    1. garri-lin
      garri-lin 18 July 2017 09: 56
      Sorry, they did NOT DO ANYTHING with the grenade launcher itself. All flaws touched the body kit and the materials from which the light version was made. The rest is a good old border.
  10. Black Colonel
    Black Colonel 18 July 2017 11: 03
    To increase strength and increase resource, the barrel was proposed to be made of steel grade 4140/4150 without the use of casting.
    Something I do not recall steel of a similar brand. Yes, and the brand designation is some kind of left.
    Found. This is the US steelwork, weapons.
  11. Catherine II
    Catherine II 18 July 2017 18: 46
    A few days ago, there was information about the receipt of a certain number of PSRL-1 grenade launchers by one of the armed formations of Ukraine. How and in what quantity these products fell into the neighboring country is unknown. The published information suggests that for the time being we are talking only about familiarizing personnel with a foreign novelty.

    To be more precise, this is Azov
    On July 7, fighters of the Azov regiment had the opportunity to listen to a detailed excursion on the work, characteristics and distinguishing features between the RPG-7В and PSRL-1, which is a modernized analogue of the Soviet anti-tank weapons.

    A friend of Kirt, the commander of the 2 BON, gave his assessment of the upgraded grenade launchers. According to him, this replenishment is extremely important for the modern army. “We get along with any weapons and equipment. This type of RPG, of course, is better than the one that we have at this stage. On our own, we can make adjustments and acquire the parts necessary for optimal operation, and even then it will be a high-precision weapon in our hands. ”
    (taken from the formation site)

    Maybe as part of a sales search and field testing. It's funny that they got it without using official US assistance (there is no amendment about Azov there as before)
    1. Alf
      Alf 18 July 2017 18: 59
      Quote: Catherine II
      On our own, we can make adjustments and acquire the parts necessary for optimal operation, and even then it will be a high-precision weapon in our hands. ”

      No need to make adjustments. You have already improved the 120-mm mortar and AK-47 also "improved."
  12. Berg berg
    Berg berg 23 July 2017 14: 20
    The next proof, the Americans themselves can’t come up with anything, they still have to steal the current! Yes, and they do everything under our caliber, our charges are still the best!
    1. Red_Baron
      Red_Baron 10 November 2017 07: 48
      For alternatively gifted and not able to read the article, which still write a comment, I will repeat what is in the text.
      Despite the village opinion that the Americans are "well tuuupyyyyy" this is not entirely true. They can and they come up with great ideas. Moreover, they are excellently produced, delivered and used. But it’s not so interesting, better drunken cheers patriotism!
      So the Americans redid the RPG-7 body kit in order to be able to supply it to countries where there are a large number of ready-made ammunition or who can freely get it.
      Not for himself, not for his army. And it’s pure that it would break profits from someone else’s clearing. If you ever went about your business, then you would know it was easy or difficult in someone else's sphere to infiltrate with your project.
      But again, it’s better to drink a broken bottle on the street and yell that our best, but consider yourself a patriot.