The AGS-17 Plamya is a Soviet-designed automatic grenade launcher
Automatic grenade launcher
An automatic grenade launcher or grenade machine gun is a grenade launcher firing rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine. They can be attached to a tripod. Automatic launchers include the Vektor Y3, AGS-17, and the HK GMG, which all fire at a higher velocity...

 currently in production in the Russian Federation and in service worldwide.


The AGS-17 is a heavy infantry support weapon designed to operate from a tripod or it can be mounted on an installation or vehicle. The AGS-17 fires 30 mm grenades in either direct or indirect fire to provide suppressive and lethal fire support against soft skinned or fortification targets.

The weapon operates using a blowback mechanism to sustain operation. Rounds are fired through a rifled barrel which is removable (to reduce barrel stress).

Ammunition is held in a metal box and is linked. Standard boxes contain 30 rounds.

The tripod is equipped with fine leveling gear for indirect fire trajectories.


Development of the AGS-17 (Avtomatischeskyi Granatmyot Stankovyi - Automatic Grenade launcher, Mounted), had been started in the USSR in 1967 by the OKB-16 design bureau (now known as the KBP Instrument Design Bureau
KBP Instrument Design Bureau
KBP Instrument Design Bureau is a Russian developer and manufacturer of high-precision weapons. It was established in 1927 in Tula, USSR. Arkady Shipunov has been the Designer General since 1962...

, located in the city of Tula
Tula, Russia
Tula is an industrial city and the administrative center of Tula Oblast, Russia. It is located south of Moscow, on the Upa River. Population: -History:...

). Most probably its development was inspired by the Sino-Soviet border conflict
Sino-Soviet border conflict
The Sino–Soviet border conflict was a seven-month military conflict between the Soviet Union and China at the height of the Sino–Soviet split in 1969. The most serious of these border clashes occurred in March 1969 in the vicinity of Zhenbao Island on the Ussuri River, also known as Damanskii...

 of the late 1960s, as well as initial experience with several US automatic grenade launchers, learned from Vietnamese troops who were often on the receiving end of these weapons.

It was thought that an automatic grenade launcher would be one of the most effective infantry support weapons against typical Chinese "human wave" attacks. This lightweight weapon was to provide infantry with close to medium range fire support against enemy personnel and unarmored targets like trucks. First prototypes of the new weapon entered trials in 1969, mass production commenced in 1971. Never used against the Chinese, the AGS-17 was widely operated and well liked by Soviet troops in Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

 as a ground support weapon or as a vehicle weapon on improvised mounts installed on armored personnel carriers and trucks.

At the same time, a special airborne version of the AG-17 was developed for installation on Mi-24 Hind gunship helicopters.

It is still in use with the Russian army
Russian Ground Forces
The Russian Ground Forces are the land forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, formed from parts of the collapsing Soviet Army in 1992. The formation of these forces posed economic challenges after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and required reforms to professionalize the force...

 as a direct fire support weapon for infantry troops; it is also installed in several vehicle mounts and turrets along with machine guns, guided rocket launchers and sighting equipment. A special airborne version, the AG-17A, was installed on the door mounts of several Mil Mi-8
Mil Mi-8
The Mil Mi-8 is a medium twin-turbine transport helicopter that can also act as a gunship. The Mi-8 is the world's most-produced helicopter, and is used by over 50 countries. Russia is the largest operator of the Mi-8/Mi-17 helicopter....

 Hip combat transport helicopters and on gun pods used in late model Mi-24 Hind gunships; this weapon had a thick aluminium jacket on the barrel and used a special mount and an electric remotely controlled trigger. It is being replaced by the AGS-30
The AGS-30 is a Russian-designed automatic grenade launcher currently in production in the Russian Federation and in service with the Russian armed forces.-Description:...

 launcher, (using the same ammunition, this weapon weighs only 16 kg unloaded on the tripod and has an upgraded blowback action).


The AGS-17 fires 30x29 caliber (belted) cartridges with a steel cartridge case. Two types of ammunition are commonly fired from the AGS-17. The VOG-17M is the version of the original 30 mm grenade ammunition which is currently available and has a basic high explosive fragmentation warhead. The VOG-30 is similar but contains a better explosive filling and an enhanced fragmentation design that greatly increases the effective blast radius.

Chechen and other North Caucasus
North Caucasus
The North Caucasus is the northern part of the Caucasus region between the Black and Caspian Seas and within European Russia. The term is also used as a synonym for the North Caucasus economic region of Russia....

 rebels and terrorists use this ammunition to manufacrture improvised hand grenade
Hand grenade
A hand grenade is any small bomb that can be thrown by hand. Hand grenades are classified into three categories, explosive grenades, chemical and gas grenades. Explosive grenades are the most commonly used in modern warfare, and are designed to detonate after impact or after a set amount of time...

s commonly called the "khattabka
Khattabka is a popular Russian and Chechen name for a homemade hand grenade. It was dubbed so after Ibn Al-Khattab and used by various North Caucasus rebels and terrorists....


Bulgarian weapons manufacturer Arcus, produces AR-ROG hand grenades based on VOG-17 cartridges and UZRGM (Russian: УЗРГМ), which is also a Soviet design of fuse.


- imported - produced locally by Arsenal AD
Arsenal AD
Arsenal AD is a Bulgarian joint-stock company based in Kazanlak, engaged primarily in the manufacture of firearms and military equipment. It is Bulgaria's oldest arms supplier.- History :...

 - produced by Norinco. - Cuba makes the AGS-17 and issues them to the Avispas Negras - designated 30 KrKK AGS-17, replaced by the HK GMG in 2005 - produced under license - designated the M93 - designated the M93

See also

  • AGS-30
    The AGS-30 is a Russian-designed automatic grenade launcher currently in production in the Russian Federation and in service with the Russian armed forces.-Description:...

  • Vektor Y3 AGL
    Vektor Y3 AGL
    The Y3 is a South African automatic grenade launcher manufactured by Denel Land Systems. It fires 40x53mm grenades at a rate of 280–320 rounds per minute.It can be vehicle mounted using a special bracket or used with a tripod....

  • SB LAG 40
    SB LAG 40
    The SB-40 LAG is a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher developed and produced in Spain by the Empresa Nacional Santa Bárbara company .-See also:...

  • HK GMG, similar weapon
  • XM174 grenade launcher
    XM174 grenade launcher
    The XM174 is a mounted automatic 40mm grenade launcher heavily based on the M1919A4 machine gun and the M79 grenade launcher but fed from an ammo can...

    , similar weapon
  • Milkor MGL
    Milkor MGL
    The MGL is a lightweight 40 mm semi-automatic, 6-shot grenade launcher developed and manufactured in South Africa by Milkor Ltd. The MGL was demonstrated as a concept to the South African Defence Force in 1981. The operating principle was immediately accepted and subjected to a stringent...

    , another South African 40 mm grenade launcher
  • Mk 19 grenade launcher
    Mk 19 grenade launcher
    The Mk 19 Grenade Launcher is a 40 mm belt-fed automatic grenade launcher or grenade machine gun that entered U.S. military service during the Cold War, first seeing action during the Vietnam War and remaining in service today.-Overview:...

    , similar weapon
  • Type 87 grenade launcher, used by the People's Liberation Army
    People's Liberation Army
    The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

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