ISIS Manufacturing Mystery Anti-Tank Rocket Launchers in Clandestine Workshops

An ISIS dirtbag poses for a propaganda video with serially produced improvised missile launchers made in the territory controlled by the Islamic State.

The war in Syria and Iraq has seen the development of a whole range of scratchbuilt and improvised weapons that are as ingenious as they are destructive. Recently, a kind of serially-produced rocket launcher has come to light as part of Da’ish (ISIS) propaganda, which appears to demonstrate a capability to serially produce clandestine weapons of a fairly high degree of sophistication. The weapon, a multipurpose missile launcher with a high explosive warhead, is unassuming and appears roughly equivalent to the US AT4, though cruder. It is a simple tube with almost no fittings or sights, a carrying/support handle, and a safety pin securing a fold-out firing grip.

The production methods used to produce the new rocket launchers can be seen in another propaganda video produced by ISIS, viewable here. It appears that a pre-packaged rocket, likely military surplus from either Iraqi or Syrian arsenals, is mounted inside a tube, and then fittings applied using bolts and ties. The ammunition appears similar to fin-stabilized rocket-type munitions used in the SMAW, M72 LAW, M79 Osa, IMI B-300, and other similar weapons that have been used in the region. Given the plain external look of the cartridge as it is loaded into the tube, the ammunition may be stripped of its external fittings before converted into the new weapon.

M79 Osa rockets without their launchers, captured from ISIS positions near Baiji. Munitions of this type could possibly be converted into the ammunition for the improvised Da’ish rocket launcher.


Thanks to Retiv for the tip!

Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • Noishkel

    Not all that surprising to see something like that. After all the launcher isn’t much more than a plastic tube.

    Still… just one more example of why you can’t stop people from making their own weapons.

    • iksnilol

      Uhm… did you miss the part where the rockets (the complicated part) aren’t manufactured by them?

      I just feel it is a bad example to use for that rhetoric.

      • mrsatyre

        Did you miss the part where he was talking about the tube (not the complicated part)?

        • iksnilol

          Do you really consider the empty tube the weapon? Which is what they constructed.

          • ReiM

            By that logic a single-shot shotgun is just an “empty tube” and not a weapon, considering that the shotgun shell is just as self-contained as the “complicated” part (propellant, payload etc) of the launcher.

          • iksnilol

            Considering in a rocket launcher the rocket does all the work. I’d say your analogy is good albeit flawed.

            A shotgun can still be used for mayhem without ammo. A plastic tube? A bit less.

          • Dougscamo

            I can’t wait for the videos of this thing going south….but I doubt that isis would produce it….

          • iksnilol

            “What is wrong with you, Abu Hajar?”

            Ah, fond memories.

          • Phillip Cooper

            If need be, I could beat someone to death with a plastic tube….

          • B-Sabre

            You’ve obviously never been whalloped with a good length of 6″ PVC pipe….

          • iksnilol

            Does aluminium sheet plate count ?

          • B-Sabre

            Was it rolled up inside a PVC pipe?

          • iksnilol

            Nope, just a big sheet that got caught by wind and smacked my face.

          • B-Sabre

            Eh. I’ll give you points for getting Mother Nature involved.

          • mosinman

            so are bullets the weapon now?
            and as for your shotgun remark, it’s nothing more than a club without ammo, much like the launcher

          • iksnilol

            In the case of rocket launchers, yes. Constructing weapons helps little if you can’t make the ammo for them. “OH NOES, ISIS HAS THE TECHNICAL CAPABILITY OF MANUFACTURING TUBES! OH THE HUMANITY”.

            Not really, plenty of robberies with empty guns.

          • mosinman

            ISIS isn’t holding up 711s though, so your comment on robberies is irrelevant.( although you could hold someone up with a scary tube like they’re making too) of course your ammo is useless if you have nothing to launch it from…..

          • Brasstard

            Isis is also makes spg9 recoilless rifle from scratch and mortor shells. I wouldn’t be surprised if they can make some rockets

          • Edison Frisbee

            No….”the mind” is the weapon….amirite?

      • Noishkel

        Yes, yes. I know. And your right, I stated that poorly. I didn’t mean to suggest other wise. What I was trying to point out that while ammo can be hard to come by actual weapons can be made to fit.

        And hell, at this point some of this ordnance can be made in illicit shops anyway.

  • valorius

    Perhaps we should just unleash the ATF on them.

  • Kivaari

    How are the missiles ignited? Electric? Percussion?

    • Major Tom

      A prayer to Allah.

      • Paveway

        Same as the aiming procedure…

    • The user makes “WHOOSH!” noises.

  • Looks to me like they’re just assembling and relabeling clones of the Yugo 120mm RBR-M90 Stršljen. Anybody else bets on Saudi Arabia as the true origin?

    • Brett baker

      The emirates?

      • iksnilol

        Yup, we had contact with that part of the world back in the day. Especially Libya.

    • Juggernaut

      ISIS only shoots off the good CIA/Israeli-provided stuff when the cameras aren’t around

      • Anonymoose

        While I highly doubt any connection between the Israelis and ISIS, I do believe there was a connection between ISIS and Hillary/Obama’s State Department, which is why they’re on the run now. Why else would our reptilian overlords allowed us to elect “Literally-Hitler” as President?

        • glenn cheney

          You Sir, are exactly, approximately, spot on.
          Clinton Foundation conduit, deep state complicit, obummer army….bwdik?
          I’m trying to stay out of this one. Btw, U.S. couple years back say FLECHETS being destroyed, lmao, now, they showing up in hands of isralies, so three letter aconym agencies funneling arms sales where needed for their own aims, pun intended.
          It a chitball out there.

      • HobgoblinTruth

        I see that our resident anti-semite conspiracy theorits are around.

    • Stephen Paraski

      I can not see them extruding aluminium, welding it or having a McMaster Carr delivery in the caliphate.

      • Most rocket launcher tubes are manufactured out of composite nowadays.

  • Klaus Von Schmitto

    I hope they don’t have a stockpile of AquaNet to go with those things.

    • Raptor Fred


  • Anonymoose

    No thanks. I like having the upper half of my body.

  • mrsatyre

    A…safety pin? “Safety” and Daesh do not belong in the same article.

    • int19h

      4 rules of ISIS gun safety:

      1. Insha’allah, the gun is always loaded and ready to slaughter the kuffar, rafida, and munafiqun.

      2. Never point your gun at something that Allah did not command you to destroy. For Allah is Just and Merciful.

      3. Always be sure of your target and what’s behind it. Making them kneel or lie down on the ground before shooting at the back of the head is the best way to ensure that.

      4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you have said an appropriate du’a.

      • Renato H M de Oliveira

        Allan Ackbar!

  • Tassiebush

    Definitely a good case for abandoning some boobytrapped rockets in their area of control

    • glenn cheney

      Why screw around? I’d let our deep divers lose a few Tac nukes with remote satellite merc switches and let my fingers do the walking.
      “What chit? We wuz home all night watchin’ tv, we didn’t see nuthin.”

  • Gary Kirk