Russia unveils new automatic grenade launcher

balkan-1-tm.jpg

Russian unveiled the new Balkan 40mm automatic grenade launcher at IDEX 2009 (massive military expo held in Abu Dhabi that was on earlier this week).

Balkan-1
Click to expand.

The AGS-17 Plamya, the auto grenade launcher currently fielded by Russia, is 30mm. The new launcher extends the effective range from 1700m to 2500m and the larger round will of course give it more bite.

It is logical to compare it with the 40mm Mk 19 Automatic Grenade Launcher. The weight and rate of fire are much the same. The Balkan comes standard with optical sights and the Mk 19 can be fitted with sights if needed.

The ammunition is quite different. The Balkan uses Russian style 40mm grenades that are in a sense caseless. The primer ignites powder, the gas then exists through vents in the bottom of the case. This is similar to the infamous Gyrojet ammunition. Unlike the Gyrojet I think all the grenade powder is burnt before the round leaves the barrel, unlike the Gyrojet which burnt the propellant slowly and accelerated slowly.

Balkan-4
The vents appear to have a shotgun-like star shaped crimp.

Another difference is that the ammunition box holds 20 linked rounds and weights 14 kg while the Mk 19 uses 32 or 48 round boxes weighing 20 and 30 kg respectively.

Hat Tip: diva @ WAFF


Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/ Sven Ortmann

    The weapon itself is surprisingly heavy – new AGLs usually weigh in at only 16-17 kg.
    Neither weight of weapon nor weight of ammunition is a major problem on vehicles and such weapons are too heavy for dismounted use anyway, so I wonder why they apparently emphasized ammunition weight.

    Reliability, external ballistics, effect and ammunition volume are the most interesting variables of such a weapon.

    • http://www.bing.com/ Nook

      Dag nabbit good stuff you whippersanperps!

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  • Mike

    Just a quick correction, IDEX is held in Abu Dhabi, you are confusing and combining it with its better known sister city in the UAE, Dubai I think. Great blog though!

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Mike, thanks for the correction.

  • Lance

    I dont think the Russian are abondoing the 30mm gernade. This 40mm launcher I think is made for export and testing.

  • abc123

    “Unlike the Gyrojet I think all the grenade powder is burnt before the round leaves the barrel, unlike the Gyrojet which burnt the propellant slowly and accelerated slowly.”

    Yes, this is a detonation like a gun, not a rocket engine. The reason there is 4 holes instead of one big is because the smaller holes have less risk of leaving any parts of the seal in the chamber of the weapon. It is a cased weapon, but the casing is attached to the bullet and go out the barrel with it.

  • charles222

    I can seeing dying horribly while trying to disentangle yourself from that retarded seat on the tripod being a distinct possibility.