Palestinian militants show off tandem RPG-7 warheads
Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
19 September 2013
Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades fighters march through Gaza on 14 September. Several are carrying RPG-7 launchers fitted with tandem-warhead rounds. The militant on the front left appears to have the precursor charge fitted to a PG-7M HEAT round. Source: PA Photos
The Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, appears to have developed a way of turning standard high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) RPG-7 rounds into tandem warheads that are capable of defeating explosive-reactive armour (ERA).
During a parade through Gaza on 14 September, numerous brigades fighters were seen carrying RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade launchers, several of which were fitted with the new type of tandem round.
The rounds appear to consist of either the standard PG-7 or PG-7M HEAT warheads with a precursor charge assembly based on those used in Russian-designed tandem rounds, such as the PG-7VR, which can be fired from an RPG-7. At least one PG-7VR round was also on display during the parade.
The same precursor charge assembly is also used on RPG-29, RPG-30 and RPG-32 tandem rounds. A version of the RPG-32 is currently being made in Jordan, while Iran produces its own Ghadir tandem round for RPG-29 launchers.
The precursor charges on these rounds are designed to activate a tank's ERA so that the main shaped charge can penetrate the armour underneath.
Adding the precursor charge would require wiring the precursor assembly's piezoelectric nose element to the fuze element at the base of the original warhead.
If Hamas has constructed this successfully, it could have a weapon capable of defeating the ERA that is fitted to Israel's M-60 tanks. However, they would probably be of little use against the latest Merkava tanks, which have composite armour and are being fitted with active protection systems capable of intercepting anti-tank projectiles before they hit their targets.
Another Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades fighter appears to have the same type of precursor charge fitted to a standard PG-7 round. (Al-Qassam Brigades)Another Izz-al-Din al-Qassam Brigades fighter appears to have the same type of precursor charge fitted to a standard PG-7 round. (Al-Qassam Brigades)
At least one PG-7VR tandem warhead round was displayed during the parade. (Al-Qassam Brigades)At least one PG-7VR tandem warhead round was displayed during the parade. (Al-Qassam Brigades)