Category Archives: Small Arms

The RPG-2s of Marawi

RPG-2s captured during a clearing operation in Marawi. Photo courtesy of Raymund Dadpaas’ official Twitter account.

One of the big surprises for me about the Battle of Marawi of 2017 (also known as the Marawi Crisis, Marawi Siege, Siege of Marawi, etc.) was the use and effectiveness of RPG type weapons by the terrorist Dawlah Islamiyah Ranao (DIR) group (also known as the Maute Group, Maute ISIS Group (MIG), A Bunch of Fakking Idi@%s (ABFI), etc.).

Local Islamic insurgent groups like the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has long been known to have such weapons in their arsenal, but they used them only sparingly over the years, certainly not anywhere near the same amount of quantity they were used in Marawi.
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Our Armed Forces’ Switch to the M855 Round

M855 Ball 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition with painted Green Tips. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
M855 Ball 5.56 x 45 mm ammunition with painted Green Tips. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

One less publicized fact about the PNoy Administration’s acquisition of the Remington R4 Assault Rifles is how the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) can now also switch to using a newer type of ammo, the M855. This is because the R4 Rifles have barrels with 1 in 7 inch Twist Rates which allows them to do so.

’Twist Rate’
First, just an explanation on the term “Twist Rate”: A bullet when it leaves the barrel of a firearm needs to be imparted a “spin” in order for it to travel further and on a more stable trajectory. Without this spin, then the bullet won’t be able to travel as accurately or as far and will drop to the ground quicker.
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The Philippine Army’s Airtronic RPG-7USA and Sight Options

An RPG-7USA. Photo courtesy of the X-Box Experts Blog
An RPG-7USA. Photo courtesy of the X-Box Experts Blog

So the Philippines finally goes over to the “Dark Side” and acquires the RPG-7s for its infantry soldiers to replace its M18 and M67 Recoilless Rifles.1 This is a very positive development indeed, as not only are we acquiring these more sophisticated equipment, we are also getting MORE of them. The Philippine Army (PA) currently has approximately 186 90mm M67 and 26 57mm M18 Recoilless Rifles,2 and in place of these the Army will acquire 400 RPG-7USA.

‘Equipment Background’
RPG-7” stands for “Ruchnoy Protivotankovye Granatomyot” in Russian which means “Hand-held, Anti-Tank Grenade Launcher”. But personally I prefer the term, “Rocket-Propelled Grenade Launcher” to describe it as I feel it describes it better. The weapon consists of a reloadable launcher made of a steel tube which is mounted on the shoulder, and a projectile which is launched from the tube using a small gunpowder charge. Once the projectile has travelled 10 m away from the tube, the rocket motor ignites propelling the round faster and further up to 920 m before it self-destructs if it doesn’t hit a target by then.
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