The RPO-A Shmel (Шмель, Bumblebee in Russian) is a Soviet thermobaric rocket launcher.
The RPO-A entered service in the late 1980s and completely replaced the RPO Rys rocket launcher.
The RPO-A behaves like certain RPGs like the RPG-18 and the M72 LAW. The launcher is basically a sealed tube carried by a team of two; one person can remove the tube, get the launcher in a firing position and launch the weapon without any assistance. After launch, the weapon is discarded.
The RPO-A uses 3 types of rockets, the RPO-A thermobaric rocket, the RPO-Z (Zazhigatel'nyy, зажигательный, Incendiary in English) incendiary rocket or the RPO-D (Dymovoy, дымовой, Smoke in English) smoke-producing rocket.
- RPO PDM-A Shmel-M
Modernized version with a smaller caliber.
Smaller, reusable variant.
- Despite it being a rocket launcher, it is considered a flamethrower in Russia.