The AGS-17 Plamya (Russian: Пламя; Flame) is a Soviet-designed automatic grenade launcher in service worldwide.
The AGS-17 is a heavy infantry support weapon designed to operate from a tripod or 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 fortified targets.
The weapon uses a blowback mechanism to sustain operation. Rounds are fired through a removable (to reduce barrel stress) rifled barrel.
The standard metal ammunition box contains 30 linked rounds.
The tripod is equipped with fine levelling gear for indirect fire trajectories.
Development of the AGS-17 (Avtomaticheskiy Granatomyot Stankovyi - Automatic Grenade launcher, Mounted) started in the USSR in 1967 by the OKB-16 design bureau (now known as the KBP Instrument Design Bureau, located in the city of Tula). Most probably its development was inspired by the Sino-Soviet border conflict 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, half-tracks, jeeps and sandbag-protected machine-gun nests. The first prototypes of the new weapon entered trials in 1969, with mass production commencing in 1971. Never used against the Chinese, the AGS-17 was widely operated and well liked by Soviet troops in Afghanistan 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 AGS-17 was developed for installation on Mi-24 Hind gunship helicopters.
It is still in use with the Russian army 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 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 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 30×29 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. New VOG-30D grenade was taken into service in 2013 for use with AGS-17 and AGS-30 grenade launchers.
The 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. Afghanistan
Armenia - imported
Bulgaria - produced locally by Arsenal AD
China - produced by Norinco based on captured examples from Mujahideen groups.
Finland - designated 30 KrKK AGS-17, replaced by the HK GMG in 2005
Iraq - produced under license
Latvia - used in the 1990s, now replaced by the HK GMG
Montenegro - designated the M93
Serbia - designated the M93
Vietnam: Made under Factory Z125