Panzerfaust 3

Panzerfaust 3

Type Anti-tank rocket launcher
Place of origin Germany
Service history
In service 1989–present
Production history
Designer Dynamit Nobel AG
Designed 1978–1985
Manufacturer Dynamit Nobel AG, IHI Aerospace (Licensed)[1]
Variants Panzerfaust 3-T, Panzerfaust 3-IT600, Panzerfaust 3LW, Panzerfaust 3LW-HESH, Bunkerfaust, 110mm anti-tank weapon[1] or 110mm LAM[2]
Specifications
Weight Configuration:

* 12.9 kg one round hollow charge warhead (28.4 lb)
* 13.3 kg one round tandem hollow charge warhead (29.3 lb)
* 13.3 kg one round bunkerbuster warhead (29.3 lb)
* 2.3 kg unloaded firing unit (5.1 lb)

Length 950 mm (37 in)
Caliber 60mm barrel, 110mm warhead
Muzzle velocity 115 m/s
Maximum range ~ 920 m (1000 yd) (self detonates)
Sights UP-7V Telescopic sight

The Panzerfaust 3 is a modern and disposable recoilless RPG anti-tank weapon developed between 1978 and 1985 and put into service by the Bundeswehr in 1992. It was first ordered in 1973 to provide West German infantry with an effective weapon against contemporary Soviet armour thereby replacing West Germany's aging PzF 44 Lanze rocket launchers.

Principle

The Panzerfaust 3 consists of a disposable launcher tube holding the projectile and a reusable firing and sighting unit. The projectile consists of a shaped-charge warhead filled with Amatol/Syndril and a shaft including the propulsion unit.

The Panzerfaust 3 can be fired from enclosed spaces since it doesn't have a significant backblast; The rear of the tube, filled with plastic granulate, minimizes the blast effect by the so-called recoilless countermass principle. The booster propellant for the projectile in its tube is ignited by a bolt via a spring mechanism. Once ejected, the rocket motor is ignited.

As safety precautions, the built-in fuse for the warhead is released by a safety mechanism. This arms the warhead after a flight distance of approximately five meters, keeping the crew safe after firing. Once armed, the warhead can explode when it hits a solid object, or when the rocket's propellant runs out. This safeguards against live ammo staying around and causing hazards to all in the future. The Panzerfaust 3's name dates back to the Panzerfaust used by the German army in World War II, but not its operating principle. The World War II weapon was a small recoilless gun firing a round, just like any rifle or gun. It was not a rocket launcher. The US Bazooka was a rocket launcher, as was its enhanced German copy, the Panzerschreck.
[edit] History

The main drawback is obviously that it has only a single shot and soldiers have to get dangerously close to penetrate heavily armoured targets. Many soldiers also found it very heavy and cumbersome, and its firing mechanism and tube tended to get damaged and jam under battlefield conditions. In addition, the rocket warhead itself was found to be ineffective against heavy armour and armour of newer types and had to be redesigned.

In consequence, the improved PzF 3-T replaced the original model in the late 1990s, introducing a dual hollow charge "tandem" warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour. This means that the spike projecting from the warhead itself also contains an explosive charge to set off the reactive armour and free the path to the real armour for the main warhead. The latest incarnation of the Panzerfaust 3, the PzF 3-IT-600, can be fired from ranges up to 600 meters thanks to an advanced computer-assisted sighting and targeting mechanism.

As of 2005, there were two additional models in the development or testing stage, both relying on smaller and therefore lighter warheads. Those were the RGW (Rückstoßfreie Granatwaffe, Recoilless Grenade Weapon - which would make it just like the original in name and operation.) in calibers 60 and 90 millimeters. Both new weapons are expected to help facilitate the transition in German military doctrine from preparation for major tank battles to urban and low-level warfare.
[edit] Specifications

There are three different versions of the Panzerfaust 3:
[edit] PzF 3

Standard model with hollow charge warhead

* Caliber: 90 mm launcher, 110 mm warhead
* Function: Primarily anti-tank weapon
* Weight:
o fire-ready weapon: 15.2 kg,
o warhead: 3.9 kg,
o spare rounds: 12.9 kg
* Length: 1200 mm
* Muzzle velocity: 160 m/s
* Highest possible speed 243 m/s
* Sights: telescope sights (can be reused)
* Maximum effective range: 400 m for stationary targets, 300 m for moving targets
* Minimum effective range: 20m
* Penetration capability: 700 mm armour, 1.6 metres concrete
* Manufacturer: Dynamit-Nobel, Germany

[edit] PzF 3-T

Standard model with dual hollow charge warhead (designed to penetrate reactive armour)

* Caliber: 90 mm launcher, 110 mm warhead
* Function: Primarily anti-tank weapon
* Weight:
o fire-ready weapon: 15.6 kg,
o warhead: 3.9 kg,
o spare rounds: 13.3 kg
* Length: 1200 mm
* Muzzle velocity: 152 m/s
* Highest possible speed 220 m/s
* Sights: telescope sights (can be reused)
* Maximum effective range: 400 m for stationary targets, 300 m for moving targets (600 m with DYNARANGE sight)
* Minimum effective range: 20m
* Penetration capability: PzF 3-T 800 mm armour
* Manufacturer: Dynamit-Nobel, Germany

[edit] PzF 3 Bunkerfaust

Designed for use against hardened bunkers.

* Caliber: 90 mm launcher, 110 mm warhead
* Function: Bunkerbuster, lightly to nonarmored vehicles, anti infantry
* Weight:
o fire-ready weapon: 15.6 kg,
o warhead: 3.9 kg,
o spare rounds: 13.3 kg
* Length: 1200 mm
* Muzzle velocity: 149 m/s
* Highest possible speed 212 m/s
* Sights: telescope sights (can be reused)
* Maximum effictive range: 300m
* Minimum effective range: 20m
* Manufacturer: Dynamit-Nobel, Germany
* penetration capacity:

* rolled homogeneous armour approximately 110 mm
* concrete 360 mm
* sandbags 1300 mm

[edit] Aiming/Firing Device

The regular firing platform has a purely optical sight, weighting 2.3 kg. All ranges listed in the article are for the optical sight. A new sight called DYNARANGE is currently being procured as part of the German Infantryman of the Future project. Essentially this is a computer controlled aiming sight with range finder. It is meant to cope with the fact that some soldiers have a hard time handling the regular sight, as its scope is quite complex to the untrained eye. Also, DYNARANGE increases the weapon's effective range to 600m against moving and stationary targets. DYNARANGE is already in service with the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps.[3]
[edit] Notes

The Panzerfaust 3 is distributed in a special package including spare parts and a cleaning kit. The package contains a launcher, ejector and spring, extractor, dummy extractor plug, bolt-head retaining pin, plastic cleaning rod with brass tip, bore and chamber brushes, camel's hair brush and a prismatic bore scope. It takes several minutes to assemble and load the launcher.

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