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Modified VOG-17 30mm grenades integrated with commercial drones for Russian troops

Recent reports from Russian media highlight that frontline Russian military units have started to receive modified VOG-17 30mm grenades. These grenades have been adapted at manufacturing plants to be compatible with commercial drones. This move comes as a departure from the previous practice of soldiers having to adjust the ammunition under field conditions. The adjustments aim to better align with the specific operational requirements of utilizing drones.
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The VOG-17 30mm grenade is used as an ammunition for the AGS-17 grenade launcher (Picture source: Irina Mareeva/Yandex)

An instructor responsible for training drone operators has shared insights into the procedure, revealing that factory-produced ammunition is now being supplied at the frontline. There's a gradual familiarization with their usage underway, encompassing a wider array of ammunition types. This includes cumulative ammunition as well as shrapnel-infused high-explosive ammunition. The entire process of manufacturing and deployment is comprehensive.

The commercial drones currently in use on the frontlines possess the capacity to deploy ammunition tailored for under-barrel grenade launchers such as the VOG-17, alongside hand grenades weighing up to 800 grams. The adaptations made to the ammunition, including the VOG-17, encompass reconfiguration for specific roles, stabilization during flight, and activation upon impact.

Delving into the technical specifics, the operator elaborated that a tail unit is affixed to ensure flight stability, and the detonator has been adjusted for immediate activation. Interestingly, the F-1 variant does not require any modification; it's simply capped and deployed.

The VOG-17 grenade, originally developed in the Soviet Union, made its debut in 1970 as a projectile grenade and improvised munition. It was designed to complement the AGS-17 Plamya automatic grenade launcher. Over time, the VOG-17 has seen use in various conflicts, including the Soviet-Afghan War, the South African Border War, conflicts in Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Ukrainian-Russian confrontations.

Technical specifications for the VOG-17 include a caliber of 30 millimeters, a shot length of 132 mm, and a sleeve length of 28 mm. The grenade itself measures 113 mm in length and weighs 0.28 kg. The total weight of the shot is 0.35 kg. The grenade covers an area of 70 square meters upon detonation and reaches an initial speed of 185 m/s.

The VOG-17 finds applications across infantry-level systems, airborne weapons, and vehicle-mounted solutions. Additionally, it has been employed as an air-droppable ordnance by the Ukrainian military, particularly in drone operations targeting vulnerable points. However, the method of attaching the projectile to drones is basic, raising questions about its accuracy in this context.

Constructed with a steel cartridge casing housing an internal explosive filling, the VOG-17 is designed to detonate upon impact. Various versions are available, including high-explosive variants and specialized rounds such as smoke-producing grenades.

The VOG-17 has been manufactured in several countries, including Bulgaria, China, Serbia, Vietnam, and Iraq. It has been adapted for multiple roles, including Fire Support, Anti-Armor applications, deployment by Special Forces, and engagement in Special Purpose and Asymmetric Warfare scenarios. The VOG-17 can be mounted on vehicles and aircraft, allowing it to engage enemy positions or targets with arced fire.


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