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Rocket-Propelled Grenades: Old Threat, New Danger

The RPG-7 has become a weapon of choice among terrorists and insurgents. Somali militiamen used RPG-7s to down two U.S. Army helicopters in Mogadishu in 1993. The RPG-7 is commonly used by enemy forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, who employ them against vehicle convoys, checkpoints and helicopters. 

First produced as an anti-armor weapon in the early 1960s, the Soviet-designed RPG-7 (rocket-propelled grenade) is a shoulder-fired, reusable tube that launches an unguided, rocket-propelled grenade. The RPG-7 is inexpensive, easy to use and, with over nine million made, readily available worldwide. Many countries have produced the RPG-7, including the USSR, China, Bulgaria, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Romania and Egypt. 

The RPG-7 can be used against many targets, including vehicles, fortified positions, personnel, and most recently, against helicopters. With a skilled operator, the RPG-7 has a maximum effective range of about 1,000 feet for a moving target and 1,600 feet for a stationary one (although it is normally used from within 150 feet of the target).

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