In 1971, the arsenal of the Soviet Army was replenished with a new model belonging to the "manual artillery" - the AGS-17 grenade launcher, called the "Flame". This type of weapon is compact, effective, reliable and in its technical indicators has no equal among the counterparts developed in other countries. He shoots accurately, away, and his striking action is deadly. Versatility of use is provided with additional accessories that allow firing in poor visibility conditions and install an automatic grenade launcher on different types of equipment, both ground and air. Affected targets may be on a straight line of fire or behind the folds of a terrain; the trajectory of the flight of the munition, depending on the angle of elevation, is flat or mounted. In general, AGS-17 is a wide range of weapons.
The first modification was a system installed on a relatively low tripod supporting the duct, consisting of two parts (upper and lower). In addition to the main function, the machine also performs an additional one: it serves as a supporting structure for the backlight batteries used for shooting at night. In the upper part of the device there are two cradles, upper and lower. The first is designed to directly install a grenade launcher with trunnions and has the ability to horizontal swing. There is also a retainer connecting the cradle with the earring AGS-17. The lower one provides horizontal guidance within the firing sector and supports the mechanism of a vertically swinging part. The entire tripod, together with the machine consisting of two cradles, is unified and has the name SAG-17.
The high effectiveness of fire destruction equipment prompted the designers of the bureau to them. Nudelman consider other options for its application. In 1980, the 213P-A helicopter complex was introduced; it is an AGS-17 automatic grenade launcher housed in an outboard container (GUV, i.e., a universal helicopter nacelle) mounted on the external suspension aircraft of the attack helicopters. Aviation specifics required certain structural changes. In GUVe placed ammunition, consisting of three hundred shells. Activation of weapons, in contrast to the infantry version, is produced by means of an electric drive remotely. A sharp increase in the rate of fire (up to 500 against the usual 65 rounds per minute) caused, in turn, the need to cool the barrel, implemented by an air radiator. The barrel in a part of the cutting step was also changed. The initial speed, increased due to the movement of the system, required a more intensive rotation of the grenade to ensure the desired accuracy of hitting.
Other installation options
The AGS-17 Flame grenade launcher can be mounted not only on aviation technology. He is a regular armament of armored vehicles (BMD-3, BTR-70). Its usual place of installation is the left heading, but if necessary, the weapon is easily removed and used separately. Its application is the same on armored boats - as an additional weapon for the tower installation. In both cases, there is no need for additional launching drives, shooting is the same as in the infantry version. New types of equipment are also equipped with fixed and removable AGSs. At its core, this grenade launcher is a compact artillery gun, capable of shooting both direct fire and canopy up to a distance of 1.7 km. So it was used.
The AGS-17 grenade launcher was first baptized during the Chinese aggression against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in 1979. It showed itself well, was used for its intended purpose, that is, to defeat the living unprotected strength of the enemy. In some cases, the fire was on the squares. The next episode, and quite a long one, of the combat use of this type of weapon was the war in Afghanistan. Soldiers and officers of a limited contingent of Soviet troops during the fighting repeatedly demonstrated ingenuity, making changes in the design and enriching the practice of tactical use of various systems, including the AGS-17. Thus, in particular, it was found that if the base of the automatic grenade launcher is welded to the armored personnel carrier of the APC or BMP, then its effectiveness increases significantly. Also during the fighting, the soldiers empirically determined the optimal queue length - from 3 to 5 grenades.
Unlike ordinary people, gunners call not only the physical process of pushing a charge from the barrel of powder gases, but also the totality of the necessary items for this. For firing from guns and howitzers need shells with sleeves and primers, sometimes (large-caliber guns) and bags of gunpowder. The AGS-17 grenade launcher is a regular shot using a VOG-17 grenade. In addition, he developed additional ammunition (VOG-17M, VOG-30, differing in mass of explosives). They consist of a sleeve, equipped with an ejecting powder charge, and a primer, as well as the grenade itself. In essence, these shots are no different from fragmentation artillery shells, with the exception of a rather small caliber (30 mm) and sizes, most likely corresponding to the ammunition of aircraft cannons, only with a rounded tip. Within a radius of seven meters, a grenade destroys all living things with splinters.
Tape and calculation
Shooting from AGS-17, as is clear from its name, is carried out mainly in automatic mode, although the design also provides for a single weapon. Grenades are fed into the feeder by a tape consisting of links connected in a “crab” system, which, in turn, is packed in a box in a snail-like manner. The capacity of the store is 29 shots, although there are only 30 links. The fact is that there is no shank as such in the tape, its role is played by the extreme link wound into the charge receiver tray. The seizure of ammunition is carried out not by the sleeve, but by the grenade itself. Equipment tape can be made manually, but usually for this they use a special machine, which, if necessary, is used for vacuum. The calculation consists of two people: the shooter and the second number, also trained in firing and helping to reload the weapon, as well as carry it in case of foot movements. The weight of the grenade launcher is considerable - 18 kg (with a 52 kg machine), plus ammunition.
Yugoslav and Soviet AGS
The performance characteristics of the AGS-17 of the Soviet and Yugoslav (licensed) production are somewhat different, although not significantly. Caliber and ammunition are completely unified (30 x 29 B). The barrel of a grenade launcher produced in Yugoslavia is longer (305 vs. 290 mm), which explains the large initial velocity of the projectile (185 and 120 m / s, respectively). Yugoslav’s rate of fire is much higher (400 shots / min), but this advantage does not always make soldiers happy, especially in conditions where ammunition needs to be saved. The target range of both samples is the same and is 1700 m. The minimum distance to the target is 1000 m.
The manual for AGS-17 includes instructions for use, in addition to the main mechanical sight, also prism optical PAG-17. In the case of direct fire at distances up to 700 meters, the calculation is easier to do without optics. PAG-17 is needed for firing from closed positions or at remote targets. His device allows to use it also as a range finder, if the dimensions of the object are known. The lens is completed with light filters, there are two of them. One has a neutral color and somewhat reduces the intensity of light in sunny weather, the other is designed for aiming at dusk and is made using a brightening orange optical layer. Aim marks are made in the form of corners and strokes, with the cost of dividing 100 and 50 meters respectively. On the sides of the central crosshair are the side correction icons. Electric lights for night mode equipped with batteries.
Mark-19 and AGS
The first automatic grenade launcher made the Americans in 1967. In 1968, the first test batch of the Mark-19 (aka Mk-19) was sent to Vietnam for practical tests, mainly on river armored boats. Despite many technical advantages, it is inferior to the Soviet model, created three years later. The main advantage is a smaller caliber, thanks to which the AGS-17 grenade launcher has a greater rate of fire. However, the Mark-19 became a kind of benchmark for designers of rapid-fire "manual artillery" in Western countries, while Soviet weapons have traditional followers in the PRC, where they are manufactured under license. The gloomy glory of AGSs is confirmed by their reliability and high efficiency, qualities that have been tested many times during many wars and conflicts of recent decades.