More recently, the attention of Western and Russian publications has attracted an unusual Chinese-made grenade launcher. We are talking about an automatic grenade launcher model Norinco LG5, which is exported in 40-mm version. Just the other day, a grenade launcher, which is often called a sniper launcher for the presence of advanced sighting devices and the possibility of hitting point targets, was seen in the hands of a Saudi Arabian army soldier fighting in Yemen.
According to reporters, the appearance of images showing a Saudi soldier fighting a Hussite in Yemen and armed with a Chinese-made Norinco LG40 portable 5 grenade launcher is the first evidence of the use of this model weapons anywhere outside of china. This is the first evidence that the grenade launcher, more reminiscent of the fantastic weapons from the next American blockbuster, is actually used in hostilities. Photos appeared on the Internet only on 3 on November 2019 of the year, it is impossible to say exactly how long the new weapons have been used in the military conflict in Yemen. At the same time, the American edition of the defense-blog in early February of 2018 wrote that an unnamed Middle Eastern buyer expressed a desire to purchase "sniper" automatic grenade launchers LG5 manufactured by Norinco. Before the appearance in Yemen, weapons were used only in China, although earlier information appeared that in combat conditions an automatic grenade launcher was used by Chinese marines to combat Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.
Automatic grenade launcher Norinco LG5
The Norinco LG5 automatic grenade launcher is an export version of a similar grenade launcher, which has been in service with the PLA since 2011. In the Chinese army, he wears the designation QLU-11. The main difference between the export version and the Chinese version is the ammunition used. An automatic grenade launcher designed for the Chinese military uses 35x32 mm caliber grenades, the export version is adapted to use the widespread NATO caliber grenades - 40x53 mm. It is worth noting that Norinco has a wealth of experience in creating such weapons; back in the 1980 years, the company's designers created a QLZ-87 grenade launcher, which is also available in a lightweight version with bipods and has already achieved some success in the global arms market, weapons were exported to African countries.
The automatic grenade launcher LG5 / QLU-11 was developed by the designers of the Chinese corporation NORINCO and is positioned as a “sniper”, as it is adapted to hit small individual targets at a distance of up to 1000 meters, while confident coverage of group targets is also ensured at a longer firing range. For such weapons - these are very good indicators. The export-oriented version uses standard NATO high-speed munitions of the 40x53 mm caliber. In addition, in China specially for this grenade launcher were created "sniper" high-precision shots, known under the designation BGJ-5. These are high-explosive fragmentation grenades, which, according to the developers, assure dispersion of only one meter for a series of three rounds at a range of up to 600 meters. Roughly speaking, a shooter armed with an LG5 automatic grenade launcher, under ideal conditions, is able to lay all three grenades in a typical window or door of a residential building at a distance of 600 meters, suppressing the enemy firing point.
The Chinese army is armed with two versions of a grenade launcher, one of them is a portable version, firing from folding bipods. The second is the tripod version, which turns the weapon into a more traditional easel automatic grenade launcher. According to information from open sources, the version of the automatic grenade launcher with bipod weighs 12,9 kg, the version with the machine - 23 kg. Most likely, this is the weight of a sniper grenade launcher without attached stores and sights. The version of the manual automatic grenade launcher for shooting from bipods is designated LG5s, the version on the tripod machine, which can also be installed on various equipment, is simply designated LG5. The mass version of the grenade launcher with bipods is comparable to the mass of the American anti-material rifle Barrett M107 chambered for caliber 12,7x99 mm. Therefore, often changing the position on the battlefield, transferring such weapons, is not an easy task. Externally, the LG5 grenade launcher for 40-mm ammunition looks very massive, so its real weight can be even more.
Like other automatic grenade launchers of a similar caliber, the Chinese Norinco LG5 grenade launcher is designed to defeat manpower, unarmored and lightly armored enemy equipment located in open areas. Confident defeat of individual targets is ensured at a range of up to 1000 meters, group, area targets - at a range of up to 2200 meters (when firing from a machine). In the Western media you can find information that specifically for the LG5 grenade launcher in China, ammunition has been created that can effectively deal with small enemy unmanned aerial vehicles.
Technical Features of the Norinco LG5 Automatic Grenade Launcher
It is believed that the creation of an accurate automatic grenade launcher of Chinese designers was inspired by the American self-loading grenade launcher Barrett XM109 caliber 25 mm. The weapon was created on the basis of a very successful large-caliber sniper rifle M107, which is in service with the US Army and many other countries. The weapon was originally created for 25x59 mm grenade launchers, which were used in the XM25 ACSW experimental 307 mm automatic grenade launcher. In addition, Norinco specialists could rely on the experience of creating a Chinese 12,7 mm HSARI LR2 anti-material rifle, borrowing the design of this model of sniper weapons.
The LG5 Chinese automatic grenade launcher is a self-loading weapon with a store-supplied power system. Presumably, the automation of this grenade launcher is based on the use of recoil energy with a long barrel stroke, when the barrel stroke is equal to the shutter stroke. At the same time, the barrel’s recoil absorber, which extinguishes recoil energy during firing, is most likely built into the butt of the weapon, providing the weapon with the required accuracy of shooting. Weapons can be fired both from the bipod and from the machine. When shooting from a bipod, the shooter fixes the weapon with two hands, one of which is on the pistol grip, the second covers a special handle made in the butt of the weapon. In the manual version, a sniper automatic grenade launcher can be transported and used by one fighter.
Since the weapon was originally created as a high-precision system, the grenade launcher received advanced sights. Despite the LG5’s open, adjustable sights, the main ones are day and night sights, both optical and electronic, which are placed on a Picatinny rail. All weapon models are equipped with a modern full-time optoelectronic sight, which is equipped with a built-in laser rangefinder, a thermal imager and a ballistic computer, which allows you to make the necessary corrections to the aiming in automatic mode. Including thanks to perfect sighting devices, the grenade launcher ensures confident defeat of single targets at a distance of up to 1000 meters.
The automatic grenade launcher is powered from detachable drum magazines designed for 3, 5 or 7 grenades for the Chinese version of QLU-11 under 35-mm ammunition and on 5 and 15 rounds for the export version of the weapon under standard 40-mm NATO grenades. The handle used to carry weapons is attached to the top of the receiver. The automatic grenade launcher shown in the photos in Yemen is equipped with a new massive muzzle brake, which can include an electronic fuse control module. This solution allows you to use, together with the Norinco LG5 automatic grenade launcher, remotely-controlled ammunition that explodes in the air and provides greater variability in the use of weapons and the destruction of various targets.