AirTronic USA has signed a new teaming agreement with Chemring Ordnance to develop different versions of US-manufactured RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launchers.

Engineers and project managers from both companies will immediately start research, development and testing, with production scheduled for the first quarter of 2016.

Commenting on Chemring Ordnance, AirTronic USA chief operating officer Richard Vandiver said: "Their experience, resources and expertise in the 40mm munitions space is unequalled and complements AirTronic’s own capabilities.

"This agreement forms the industry’s best team and brings a shoulder-fired recoilless rifle system (launcher and rockets) to the market that we believe will be superior to anything available globally."

Chemring Ordnance president Mike Quesenberry said: "We are excited to partner with AirTronic USA to establish a capability for RPG-7 ammunition and provide the US customer with a complete RPG solution."

The shoulder-launched RPG-7 anti-tank weapons are manufactured by Russia, but AirTronic USA has recently developed a US-version, called Amerikansky RPG-7.

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"We are excited to partner with AirTronic USA to establish a capability for RPG-7 ammunition."

In December 2014, the company secured a safety release from the US Army for its US-manufactured 40mm variant.

The safety release permits the company to conduct a shoulder-launch of the RPG-7 USA launcher at the Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiments Spiral J event, scheduled to be conducted by the Army Manoeuvre Battle Lab at Fort Benning, Georgia, US, from January to March.

The system has completed independent pressure, reliability and drop testing, undertaken by Battelle Labs between August and November 2014.

Vandiver added: "While not an official endorsement by the army, we believe that this safety release, the testing for which certainly put our system through its paces, will satisfy the market need for our weapon’s system to exceed the rigours expected on the battlefield."

Image: US and Bulgarian soldiers training with RPG-7s at Novo Selo Training Area, Bulgaria. Photo: courtesy of the US Army, photo by Sgt 1st Class Osvaldo P. Sanchez, Joint Task Force-East Public Affairs.