Images emerged from the Ukraine following fighting in Ukraine’s Donetsk region on the 25th of May, 2014 showing alleged pro-Russian Ukrainian separatist fighters in possession of Russian-made MRO-A rocket launchers.
The MRO is a self-contained, disposable, single-shot 72.5 mm rocket launcher, developed from the larger 93 mm RPO family to provide a lighter alternative. Both the MRO and RPO series weapons have descriptions translated from Russian as “flamethrowers,” referencing the three incendiary-type warhead variants produced.
The MRO-A,pictured in, carries a thermobaric warhead and is distinguishable by the two short red stripes towards the firing end of the weapon. The MRO-D variant carries a white phosphorous (WP) smoke warhead, identifiable by one red stripe, and the MRO-Z an incendiary warhead, marked by a single yellow stripe. The RPO series is available in the same variants, featuring the same markings and designations.
The presence of the MRO in Ukraine was significant because, unlike the RPO, it is not known to be in the Ukrainian military arsenal. As seen, a cache of RPO-A launchers was allegedly captured from pro-Russian separatists following fighting at the Donetsk airport. In late January 2014, Pravda News also reported a request Vitaly Zakharchenko, then Ukrainian Interior Minister, asking for permission to use the RPO-A to “help maintain public order and public safety.”
Special thanks to Ivan Kochin and Yuri Lyamin for their assistance.
Calibre: 72.5 mm
Length: 900 mm
Weight: 4.7 kg
Effective Range: 90 m
Maximum Range: 450 m
Variants: MRO-A (Thermobaric warhead), MRO-D (WP Smoke warhead), MRO-Z (Incendiary warhead)