The main claim to the existing grenades was a remote fuse. It performed its functions well, but a fixed time from throwing a grenade to detonating a charge markedly reduced the effectiveness of the application. So, the enemy could notice the throw and have time to hide from the splinters, and a grenade could, under certain conditions, roll back from the right place or even jump aside. In this connection, by the mid-seventies of the last century, the military had a desire to get a new grenade or grenades that could explode not only after a certain time, but also upon contact with the surface. In this case, the probability of unnecessary movements of the grenade decreased, and the enemy had no chance to hide.
Manual fragmentation grenade offensive RGN (left). Hand fragmental grenade defensive RGO (right).
Creation of new grenades started at the very end of the seventies. The war in Afghanistan had a great influence on the course of their development. Already in the first months of hostilities, Soviet fighters had to very often throw hand grenades in the mountains, where the remote fuse often posed a greater danger to the one who threw himself than to the enemy. Employees of the Bazalt enterprise under the leadership of S. Korshunov and V. Kuzmin, V. Yakunin and D. Denisov started designing two new grenades.
New fuse UDZ
The main complaint of the military to the existing grenades concerned the remote fuse. Thus, to implement the requirements, it was necessary to create a new design. The result of research, experimentation and analysis of technical proposals was the UDS fuse (“Shock-and-distance fuse”). As the name implies, it is capable of undermining a grenade both a few seconds after the shot, and when hitting a surface.
The device of the shock-remote ignition device UDZ
Work fuse UDZ
Structurally, the new UDS igniter can be divided into four main parts:
- safety-initiating, consisting of a drummer, a mainspring, checks with a ring and a safety lever;
- pyrotechnic from shock primer-igniter, two pyrotechnic long-range cocking retarders and self-detonator;
- mechanical with inertial load, spring loaded load cup with needle, intermediate capsule and safety slider. The latter is pressed by a spring to the moderator rod;
- detonation with a beam type igniter.
Work fuse UDZ looks like this. The fighter presses the safety lever to the body of the grenade, straightens the antennae checks and pulls it out, then throws the grenade in the direction of the target. After the soldier has released the grenade, the safety lever pressed by the drummer rises from its place and the drummer releases. The latter rotates around its axis and hits the primer-igniter, which, in turn, ignites three pyrotechnic devices: a self-liquidator and two retarders. They are three aluminum tubes with a thread on the outer surface intended for screwing into the body of the fuse. During manufacture, a suitable composition with stable combustion characteristics, low hygroscopicity and low gas evolution is pressed into the tubes. After burning powder composition in two tubes-moderators under the action of the springs inside the tubes go the corresponding pins. Then, under the action of its own spring, the safety engine shifts to the side, releases the cup of the inertia mechanism and brings the primer-igniter to the detonator. Grenade ready to undermine. The process of cocking the fuse takes from 0,8 to 1,1 seconds, depending on the air temperature.
For the detonation of ammunition meets the load inertial mechanism. Structurally, it is a plastic ball of small diameter with metal balls placed in it. The ball of the inertial mechanism is clamped in the cavity between the inner surface of the body of the igniter and a special cup of conical shape. The hull and cup contours are designed in such a way that when a grenade hits a hard surface, the inertia load shifts and shifts the cup down relative to the vertical axis of the fuse. At the bottom of the latter there is a needle that hits the fuse primer, after which the detonator ignites and the main charge of the grenade is detonated. If a grenade gets on a soft surface, in snow, sand, or even water, in this case, the explosion is carried out using a third tube with a powder mixture - self-destructing, which brings the fire directly to the primer-igniter. Self-destructive charge burns out in 3-4,3 seconds.
In addition to cocking a second after the throw, an additional mechanism for protecting the fighter is provided. If the grenade hits any object before the retarder charge burns out, the ball of the inertia mechanism will still move and press on its cup. The needle of the latter in this case will block the movement of the engine on which the primer-igniter is installed. As a result, the fire does not get to the detonator and the grenade does not explode.
In view of the comparative complexity of the design, it was proposed to fabricate the UDS fuse body from plastic. Almost all its other parts are metal. On the lower "leg" of the fuse there is a thread for screwing the grenade into the body. In accordance with Soviet norms, the primers were to be painted an olive color. However, there are a large number of photographic materials on which the plastic case of the UDZ is left white, and the colored marks are present only on the safety lever.
RGN offensive grenade
Two grenades, offensive and defensive, were created on the Basalt, especially for use with the UDZ igniter. The first was called the RGN ("Hand grenade offensive"). When creating a new grenade, the claims of the military to the existing RGD-5 were taken into account. The fact is that with all its advantages this grenade was not without flaws. Many of the complaints were caused by the fragments formed by the explosion. An offensive grenade, to ensure the safety of a moving soldier throwing it in motion, must not throw debris over a long distance. However, fragments of RGD-5 tend to scatter more than 20-25 meters, and some parts of the standard fuse of UZRGM are dangerous even at long distances.
The basis of the construction of RGN grenades - two metal hemispheres with a diameter of 60 millimeters. They are made of relatively thick aluminum alloy sheet. When stamping, numerous grooves are applied to the inner surface of the hemispheres, with the help of which the metal is crushed into the required number of fragments. In the center of one of the hemispheres there is a hole above which a small metal cup with a thread is fixed, into which the fuse is screwed in before using. The edges of the hemispheres are specially machined, which is necessary for proper assembly of the grenade. When assembling, a polyethylene ring is laid between the parts, after which the hemispheres are fixed by compression.
A mixture of RDX and TNT was chosen as an explosive for the new grenade. The first gave the grenade a greater explosion power compared to previous ammunition of a similar purpose, and the second allowed the liquid molten mixture to be made and poured into the finished body. With this method of equipment in a frozen charge, a cavity was drilled for the igniter. The design of the grenade also made it possible to place in it pressed pieces of the appropriate explosive, for example, A-IX-1 (a mixture of hexogen and plastic filler).
The finished RGN grenade with a screwed in fuse weighs 310 grams, of which 112 is charged with an explosive charge. When undermined, at least 220-250 fragments weighing 0,3-0,4 grams are formed. The initial velocity of fragmentation of fragments is at the level of 700 m / s. Because of this, a grenade can hit targets on an area up to 90-95 square. meters, within a radius of at least 8-10 meters. The fragmentation effect of the RGN grenade is significantly higher than that of previous domestic ammunition of this class. For example, in comparison with the RG-42 grenade, the new RGN is three times more effective.
RGN (left), RGO (right)
RGN device: 1 - lower hemisphere; 2 - explosive mixture; 3 - upper hemisphere; 4 - glass; 5 - cork; 6 - shock and ignition fuse; 7 - ring; 8 - lever.
RGO device: 1 - lower inner hemisphere; 2 - lower outer hemisphere; 3 - explosive mixture; 4 - upper outer hemisphere; 5 - glass; 6 - cork; 7 - cuff; 8 - upper inner hemisphere; 9 - shock and ignition fuse; 10 - ring; 11 - lever.
RGO Defensive Grenade
The famous defensive grenade F-1, also known under the unofficial name "Pineapple", also did not avoid complaints. The characteristic corrugated body of this grenade, divided into 32 characteristic "spikes", does not always break along the lines of division. Therefore, in some cases, particularly large fragments can fly away over a distance of several tens of meters. The new defensive grenade RGO (“Hand grenade defensive”) was initially developed in such a way as to get rid of the unstable division into fragments and, as a result, of the complex shape of the affected area.
In general, the design of the RGO grenade is similar to the RGN, however there are several serious differences. Since the defensive grenade does not have such severe restrictions on the radius of fragmentation as an offensive, it was decided to slightly modify the design. For this reason, the hemispheres of the body of the RGO grenade are stamped from sheet steel. As on the RGN, the details of the body of a defensive grenade have internal grooves. In addition, so that the fighter could determine by touch the type of grenade and not suffer from his own oversight, the lower hemisphere of the RGO has shallow grooves on the outer surface. The upper part of the case is smooth. The original way was solved the problem of increasing the number of fragments. Inside the main hemispheres during assembly two more are inserted with internal grooves. Thus, the number of fragments increased by more than two times.
The defensive grenade RGO is much heavier than its offensive counterpart. A grenade ready for use weighs 530 grams, and the explosive charge is only 92. Despite the smaller amount of the mixture based on RDX, the RGO grenade at the explosion crumbles into 650-700 fragments weighing no more than 0,4-0,45 grams, flying at a speed of the order of 1200 m / s. The energy of the fragments is almost three times the corresponding parameter of the RGN grenade and is enough for hitting targets on an area up to 270-280 square. meters It is noteworthy that the declared radius of destruction of the RGO grenade is only 16 meters. However, the original design provides a much more effective action against targets at this distance. It is also worth noting that a large number of small fragments of the RGO grenade act much better than a relatively small number of large fragments from F-1. At the same time, the fragments quickly lose their energy, so that the new grenade is less dangerous for the throwing and his comrades.
Grenades RGN and RGO in a cut
Both grenades, RGN and RGO, like other Soviet ammunition of a similar purpose, were produced in several versions. Combat grenades were painted in green and olive color, training - in black. In the army, grenades were delivered in wooden boxes of 20 pieces. Thanks to the spherical shape, it was possible to lay the grenades in a relatively small volume. In the box were placed two layers of ten grenades, laid soft material. In addition, a side compartment for fuses was provided in the box. The latter were packed in 20 pieces in a sealed metal box. A box with grenades and fuses weighed 13,5 kilogram.
The first batches of new grenades immediately came to Afghanistan, where they were actively used in battles with dushmans. The Soviet fighters immediately appreciated the advantages of the RGO and the RGN. Subsequently, such grenades were regularly used by federal forces during the wars in Chechnya. However, even thirty years after its creation, the RGN and RGO grenades could not replace their predecessors. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, RGD-5 and F-1 are easier to manufacture and, as a result, cheaper. Secondly, by the beginning of the eighties, the troops already had a huge stock of old grenades, which would take a lot of time to spend. Thirdly, during the eighties, it was not possible to deploy a full-fledged mass production of new grenades.
As a result, the F-1 and RGD-5 grenades remained the main manual fragmentation ammunition in the Russian armed forces. New and more efficient RGN and RGO are still being produced, but production volumes leave much to be desired. At present, such grenades are widely used by various special forces, who need a reliable means for hitting targets in a certain zone, equipped with a shock igniter. It is in the conditions of special operations, in particular during the storming of buildings, that in recent years all the advantages of new grenades are fully manifested. Grenade RGN or RGO is able to literally sow a room with splinters and at the same time does not give the enemy time to attempt to escape, because the flight to the first obstacle and the subsequent explosion takes a split second. Probably, over time, new grenades, devoid of the shortcomings of the old ones, will take their deserved place in the nomenclature weapons our armed forces, but for now it remains for not too perfect, but time-tested and mass-scale samples.
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