Mexican Cartels with M1 Killing AT Weapons?

Posted on: December 1st, 2013 by Will Rodriguez 19 Comments

Small Wars Journal ran an extremely interesting and well referenced article on this development

There’s a “museum” in Mexico City open only to the Mexican government and used to train anti-drug forces.  The “Museo de Enervantes” as it’s called in Spanish features a “model” of the RPG-29 Vampir (Vampyre).   It’s called the RPG-29. The RPG-29 was fielded to the Soviet Army in 1989.  It is very similar to our early airborne type “bazookas” in that the tube can be broken down into two parts.  Assembled, it fires a 105m tandem warhead rocket designed to defeat explosive reactive armor (ERA) and then penetrate the frontal armor of today’s modern main battle tanks to include the M1A1 & A2 Abrams.   The round can penetrate up to almost 30” of steel and has a reported range of 500m with optical sights but with newer rounds and improved day/night laser range finding optics can engage out to 800m.  The RPG29 was used in the 2006 Lebanon where it defeated some Israeli Merkavas.  AT weapons were credited for causing most of Israel’s casualties.   Hezbollah likely acquired these weapons from Syria.

How cartels may have come into possession of the RPG-29 is not known but the RPG-29 is produced under license by SEDENA in Mexico and Avribas in Brazil.  The cartels have always tried to increase their firepower.  A weapon that can defeat just about every armored vehicle even in the US inventory is a significant weapon and capability.  If drug cartels can procure these weapons what’s to keep them out of potential terrorists’ hands?   Few locations or vehicles have the armor of an M1 tank to include government vehicles used to transport criminals, terrorists or even government officials.  A little outside the box thinking can make for some frightening implications and scenarios.

Be Respectful, Candid and Pertinent. No Posers, No Trolls…
  • steelhorse

    This is not a happy devolopment what would one of these do if shot at a normal building or another scary thought a coast gaurd cutter. There doesn’t  seem to be a resonable defence agianst this weapon if it can punch through an A1 what could stop it. What a lovely world we live in.

  • ArcticWarrior

    The major Cartels/DTO/TNGs are paramilitary organizations, if you have the cash anything can be bought, and most importantly the people to maintain and train others in the use of the “exotic” stuff. To sustain area deniability sites around the ole ranchero if you have lots of cash and rub shoulders with people like Hez dreams can be made true. RPG7s with HEAT rounds are a favorite, belt fed 50s? who doesn’t have them?. The exotic stuff like 29s, and lots of exotic stuff is found by SEDENA, is too sensitive to talk about on the intrawebz.

  • steelhorse Oh I think there are reasonable defense courses of action. 
    I’d consider actually building a fence…

  • steelhorse

    majrod steelhorse Oh u mean that one they built what 7yrs ago oh wait they defunded that after only building what 10 miles of it.Your making sence now major that doesn’t play well in DC (sigh)

  • ArcticWarrior

    majrod steelhorse The real players dont want the game to end, that’s the answer

  • LauraKinCA

    ArcticWarrior  Why Samruk International isn’t so fictional after all??

  • YankeePapa

    …Also, Venezuela has acquired massive amounts of conventional Russian and Russian-type weaponry.  Maybe sell a few shoulder-fired anti-air weapons to people with no love for the U.S.?  
    …Long before 9-11, the Soviets in the late ’70s gave such weapons to terrorist groups in Rhodesia… used to knock a couple of civilian airliners out of the sky.  Most of the world didn’t care… including the U.S. and U.K.  

  • KineticFury

    The damage these can do to an SAA team T72 tank to put things in perspective.

  • KineticFuryLooks very familiar though most I remember lost their turrets.  Thanks for sharing, very helpful.
    FWIW, a previous SITREP…
    Assad has lost 20% of his armor

  • KineticFury

    majrod KineticFury thanks I didn’t see that one. I’m sure you know but I’ve seen several Syrian armor videos (filmed by both teams) courtesy of Youtube & Liveleak…very surreal.

  • HM1 (FMF) Ret.

    KineticFury majrod Is it bad that I felt all warm inside watching Johnny Jihad the cameraman get knocked ass over teakettle from the backblast?

  • KineticFury

    HM1 (FMF) Ret. KineticFury majrod If only I had a dime for every time I’ve seen it happen in these videos……

  • BSchroe

    Introduced by Soviets in 1989 …. looks like about a 4th generation rocket launcher.Very interesting.

  • Actually the launcher is very similar to the airborne version of the bazooka.  The original fired 2.36″ (almost 60mm). The Germans captured some, copied it, upped it to 88mm and renamed it the Panzershreck.  It was not uncommon for US troops to prefer the better German model.  After WWII (thr ordnance guys refused to improve the bazooka during WWII) the Army upped the bazooka to 3.5″ (90mm).  Sadly they didn’t get to Korea and Task Force Smith where a lieutenant engaged a N. Korean T34 tank with 22 rounds with no effect.  Task Force Smith was eventually overrun by overwhelming N. Korean numbers and armor.

  • Ishaan

    This is some sad shit indeed.

    These guys are almost as well equipped, trained and better funded than Hezbollah. And they’re literally at USA’s doorstep.

  • BSchroe

    2/5 carried the breakdown 3.5 to Vietnam in 1966. I think the Army had the M67 90 mm recoiless at the same time. Understand the 90mm recoiless was heavy .By the fall of 1966 we had been issued the M 72 LAW.

  • IS1FiveO

    I’ve been seeing gang bangers on social media posing with AT 4s or replica AT 4s. The police carry pistols and the gang bangers have AT 4s? Things aren’t looking good for the good guys.

  • IS1FiveO

    Is the dude with the RPG-29 wearing skinny jeans? Man, what is war coming to?

  • ArcticWarrior

    IS1FiveO Seen everything from locals with 6 shooters to various SEDENA Tiers with FX5s with Gucci ornaments and optics, all depends on where the good guys are in the food chain. And this can be seen at the same crime scene. Its a crazy place.