BM-14 / RPU-14 140-mm towed rocket launcher
The RPU-14 was first produced in 1964 and adopted in 1967. It was first seen publicly in the November 1967 Moscow Red Square parade, and to date it has appeared only with Soviet forces. Although still found in some Soviet airborne divisions in the 1980s, the RPU-14 was in the process of being replaced by the airborne 122-mm rocket launcher (12-round) M1975.
The 140-mm (16-round) towed rocket launcher RPU-14 is of simple, compact construction. The launch tubes are arranged in four banks of four tubes each, and the launcher is mounted on the same carriage as the 85-mm field gun D-44, with split tubular trails and a caster wheel. The RPU-14 normally is towed by the GAZ-66 4x4 light truck.
The RPU-14 fires the same high-explosive fragmentation (M-140F) and chemical rounds as the BM-14-16 and BM-14-17, as well as a smoke round (M-14D). The effectiveness of the launcher is based on the rapid sequence of its salvo fire. With a rate of fire of 2 rds/sec, it can put its 16 rockets on target in approximately 8 seconds. Thus, the fire is effective because of its surprise effect as well as the explosive effect of the rockets. The rockets also are spin-stabilized to reduce the dispersion of rockets and thus to increase the accuracy and density of salvos. The maximum range is 9,810 meters.
The RPU-14 is designed for employment with airborne forces. It differs from other rocket launchers due to its air-transportability and air-droppability. Whether towed by a truck or, over short distances, by its own five-man crew, the RPU-14 is capable of rapid displacement according to the situation.
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