There are a number of different RPG-7 pattern rocket launchers in use in Ukraine including the American PSLR-1s, the Czech LGL-7s and the Bulgarian ATGL-L and WRPG-7 to name a few. One of the most interesting to appear is the Chinese Type 69.

The Type 69s were potentially supplied by one of the Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania or Estonia, which held them in inventory during the 1990s and 2000s. The Type 69 was in service it the Estonian armed forces as the M-69, and remained in inventory into the early 2010s. Another possible origin is that they were part of a seized shipment of small arms and light weapons supplied to the Houthis in Yemen by Iran, which was intercepted en route. Though no Type 69s have been seen in the released imagery of seized shipments.

Training with Type 69 (via 22nd Separate Mechanised Brigade)

The Type 69 is a clone of the Russian RPG-7, manufactured by China’s state arsenals it has been successfully sold around the would by NORINCO and Xinshidai. It entered service with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the 1972, replacing the earlier Type 56, and served into the late 1990s.

The Chinese RPG’s distinguishing features include the absence of a rear pistol grip, an orangey-brown fluted heat-shield around the tube, a forward bipod, and a folding carrying handle fitted to the top of the launcher. There is also a fold‐down shoulder support which is removeable. The Type 69-1, introduced in the 1980s, is slightly shorter than the original Type 69 and has slightly different sights, with the rear sight assembly more centrally positioned on the tube. The Chinese RPGs seen in theatre so far appear to be Type 69-1s.

Two Type 69s in a Ukrainian armoury (via social media)

The earliest evidence of Type 69s in Ukraine I’ve come across is a video posted by the Ukrainian YouTube channel Tacti Coach on 29 November 2023 which discusses RPG-7s in general but features a Type 69. Subsequently, on 19 January 2024, the 22nd Separate Mechanised Brigade shared several photos of troops training with Type 69s.

Another undated photograph shows the interior of a Ukrainian armoury, with crates of ammunition and transit chests with a Barrett M107 and two Type 69s.

Training with Type 69 (via 22nd Separate Mechanised Brigade)

On 21 January, a Ukrainian combatant believed to be associated to Ukraine’s special operations forces shared a photograph holding a Type 69 by its carry handle. On the 18 February, the 22nd Separate Mechanised Brigade again shared an album of photos showing troops training with the Type 69 giving us the best look at the Chinese RPG in Ukraine so far.

In future articles/videos we’ll look at other RPG-7 variants in use in Ukraine. We have previously examined a number of RPG-7 related topics, mostly focused on improvised warheads.

Thanks to B-AREV and to Weapons Illustrated for their help sourcing imagery.

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