Infantry weapons / Recoilless rifles / SPG-9

SPG-9

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Recoilless rifle

  • ORIGIN
    USSR

  • NICKNAMES
    Kopye, "Spear" (nickname)
    6G6 (GRAU designation)
    AG-9 (Romanian production) SPG-9DNM (Bulgarian production)
    SZPG-9 (Hungarian service)

  • DESIGNED
    Late 1950's

  • DESIGNER
    Silin & Alekseev

  • PRODUCTION
    1962 - present

  • PRODUCERS
    Bulgaria
    Romania
    USSR

  • QUANTITY
    Unknown

  • UNIT COST
    Unknown

  • CHARACTERISTICS
    Light weight given its capabilities
    Good accuracy and range
    Good rate of fire
    Cheap and simple weapon system
    Can be mounted on variety of vehicles
    Improved penetration over older weapons
    Ineffective against late Cold War era tanks
    Much bulkier than shoulder fired weaons

Introduction

The SPG-9 is an early Cold War era recoilless rifle of Soviet origin. It was developed as a more potent replacement for the 82mm B-10 recoilless rifle. Compared to the B-10 the SPG-9 is lighter, more accurate and has better armor penetration. In modified form the SPG-9 and its 73mm projectiles serve as the main armament of the BMP-1 mechanized infrantry combat vehicle.

Design

The SPG-9 is a breech loaded smoothbore recoilless rifle. The 73mm projectiles are rocket assisted and fin stabilized. An optical sight or night sight is fitted. The SPG-9 is tripod mounted when used by infantry and can be pedestal mounted on vehicles and ships. A crew of 2 is required to operated the SPG-9, although a crew of 4 recommended. The SPG-9 cannot be shoulder fired.

Firepower

A skilled crew can fire 5 to 6 rounds per minute. Armor penetration is 300mm RHA with standard HEAT-FS projectiles and 400mm RHA improved projectiles. The maximum effective direct fire range with both HEAT-FS and HE-Frag projectiles is 800 meters. Indirect fire range is 1.3 km with HEAT-FS and 4.5 km with HE-Frag projectiles.

Mobility

Compared to the older B-10 the SPG-9 is much lighter. It can be manhandled over short distances in the field, but ought to be moved by jeep or larger vehicle over longer distances.

Users

The SPG-9 was adopted by Soviet forces in the early 1960's and was produced in large quantities. Large numbers were exported to Soviet allies and the SPG-9 is produced under license in several nations. Large numbers of SPG-9 remain in use today, albeit mostly as a fire support weapon and not as an anti-tank weapon. Anti-tank guided weapons are preferable at longer ranges, augmented by shoulder fired weapons at shorter ranges.

Variants

SPG-9

SPG-9: Original production model.
SPG-9M: Improved launcher.
SPG-9D: Airborne variant with detachable wheels.

TypeRecoilless rifle
Crew2 to 4
Caliber73 mm
Length2.11 m
Tube length?
Width0.99 m
Height0.80 m
Weight47.5 kg (gun), 12.0 kg (tripod)
Firing arc30° total traverse
SightsPGO-9 4x optical sight, PGN-9 passive night sight
AmmunitionVarious warheads available
Velocity435 m/s HEAT-FS, 316 m/s HE-Frag
PenetrationDepends on warhead, 300 to 400 mm RHA for HEAT-FS
Range800 m direct fire, 1.3 km max for HEAT and 4.5 km max for HE-Frag
Rate of fire5 to 6 rpm
RemarksTripod, detachable wheels mount available

73mm PG-9 projectiles

PG-9: HEAT-FS round for use against armored vehicles.
PG-9N: Improved HEAT-FS round with better armor penetration.
PG-9VS: HEAT-FS round with improved flight characteristics.
PG-9NT: HEAT-FS round with tandem warhead.
OG-9: HE-Frag round for use against troops in the open.
OG-9M: Improved HE-Frag round different HE filler.
OG-9M1: Further improved HE-Frag round.
OG-9BG: Bulgarian made HE-Frag round.
OG-9BG1: Bulgarian made HE-Frag round with improved flight characteristics.

CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHEAT-FS
Diameter73 mm
Length920 mm
Weight4.39 kg
Charge?
Warhead0.332 kg hexogen
FuzeVP-9 fuze
Effects300 mm RHA
Velocity435 m/s
Range0.8 km effective, 1.3 km maximum
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHEAT-FS
Diameter73 mm
Length920 mm
Weight?
Charge?
Warhead0.340 kg OKFOL-3.5
FuzeVP-9 fuze
Effects400 mm RHA
Velocity435 m/s
Range0.8 km effective, 1.3 km maximum
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHEAT-FS
Diameter73 mm
Length920 mm
Weight4.4 kg
Charge?
Warhead?
Fuze?
Effects400 mm RHA
Velocity?
Range1.3 km effective
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHEAT-FS
Diameter73 mm
Length920 mm
Weight3.2 kg
Charge?
WarheadTandem HEAT warhead
Fuze?
Effects400 mm RHA behind ERA or 550 mm RHA
Velocity400 m/s
Range0.7 km effective, 1.2 km maximum
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHE-Frag
Diameter73 mm
Length1.062 m
Weight5.35 kg
Charge?
Warhead0.735 kg TNT and cast iron casing
FuzeGO-2 or O-4M fuze
Effects?
Velocity316 m/s
Range?
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHE-Frag
Diameter73 mm
Length1.062 m
Weight5.35 kg
Charge?
Warhead0.655 kg TD-50
FuzeGO-2 or O-4M fuze
Effects?
Velocity316 m/s
Range?
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHE-Frag
Diameter73 mm
Length1.062 m
Weight5.35 kg
Charge?
Warhead?
FuzeGO-2 or O-4M fuze
Effects?
Velocity316 m/s
Range4.5 km maximum
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHE-Frag
Diameter73 mm
Length?
Weight6.9 kg
Charge?
Warhead?
FuzeO-4M fuze
Effects?
Velocity250 m/s
Range4.0 km maximum
Accuracy?
Tracer-
Remarks-
CategoryRecoilless rifle round
TypeHE-Frag
Diameter73 mm
Length?
Weight?
Charge?
Warhead?
FuzeO-4M fuze
Effects?
Velocity?
Range6.5 km maximum
Accuracy?
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Remarks-

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