Iraq Mystery Weapon Identified

Strategy Page says that the US Army has identified Michael Yon’s mystery weapon:

The mystery weapon picture that’s been showing up around the net, appears to be something that began in Chechnya (where the local Islamic terrorists built improvised weapons firing 55mm rockets), and evolved into a new design for firing RPG rockets. The U.S. Army has come to call the mystery weapon the C5K, and it sports a scope. The C5K is a misnomer, and refers to another improvised weapon (a launcher for an unguided aircraft rocket, the S-5K, a 8.8 pound, 55mm projectile). These mystery weapons are made in small quantities, in workshops set up for that purpose. Things like this are intended to provide an easier-to-handle launcher for RPG rockets.

My guess at the time had been that it was a prop built for media interviews and rallying the insurgents. I thought that some of the welding was a bit heavy-duty for a prop, but it just didn’t look to be a reasonable RPG-type launcher, particularly when so many real RPG launchers are to be had.

Not sure if I’m convinced yet. But it isn’t a photoshop of a toy.


  1. Murdoc, Finally got around to registering to comment. Yes, I would guess that is an improvised rocket launcher. Much better than most I’ve seen. The S-5 is a 57mm FFAR, used on FSU attack helos and fixed wing ground attack aircraft like the Su-25. Iraq had a metric sh**load of these things. They have been improvised into everything from roadside IEDs, indirect fire, anti-aircraft, as well as cheap RPG substitutes. The C-5 nomenclature results from the designation being written on the rocket in Cyrillic, or so I am told. The principle disadvantage of these things is that they have no launch motor, and a heck of a back blast. It also has a nice, flat trajectory. Just my 2 cents.

  2. I think I nailed it. Also Matt in response 163 (a couple responses below mine) probably identified what the body tube is made from. I’ve seen shells with those grooves in them, but I can’t remember where and I’ve never known what they are for. Response 174 confirmed what I said long before the quasi-official acknowledgement.