The Vietnamese People’s Army (VPA) recently finalized the test of the OPL-40M – the first domestically-made under barrel grenade launcher.
In the test, the grenade launcher was seen fitted to STV assault rifles that are projected to replace the AK-series assault rifles in the VPA service.
According to sources close to the VPA, the OPL-40M prototype first publicly appeared in 2010. The development was carried out by the state-owned Z111 factory in Thanh Hoá incorporating some design aspects from the US-made M203, Israeli GL40 and Russian GP-25 grenade launchers.
It appears that the VPA will soon begin mass production of the new launcher. The OPL-40M is also being planned to replace the US-made M79 stand-alone grenade launcher which was reverse engineered and produced in Vietnam after the Vietnam war as SPL40.
Chambered in 40 mm NATO, the OPL-40M is a side-twist loading, under barrel grenade launcher with a 375 meter maximum engagement distance. It was designed to be fitted either with the AK series rifles as well as Vietnam’s own STV assault rifle series which development was based on Israel’s IWI Galil Ace.
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