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Russian 7.62mm RPD Light Machine Gun (Also Chinese Type-56 LMG)

7.62mm RPD Light Machine Gun

Viet Cong Soldier operating the RPD machine gun
NVA soldier operating the RPD light machine gun

The RPD was developed for the Russian military in 1944 for use as a squad automatic weapon (SAW), and entered service during the 1950s. It can be fired from a prone position with the built-in bipod, or from the hip with the aid of a sling. It is fed by refillable non-disintegrating links. The RPDM is a product-improved and modernized version which was introduced in the mid 1950s. In China, the RPD was manufactured with minor internal modifications and was named Type 56 LMG and was even exported to Sri Lanka.
The Type 56 LMG saw widespread use in the hands of VPA and NLF forces in the Vietnam war. The RPD was replaced by Soviet Army in the late 1960s by the RPK, much to many infantry soldiers dismay, though was still used in the reserves for some years. Today the RPD is still widely used by many guerrilla organizations around the world, notably the Tamil Tigers.

Type: Light Machine Gun
Place of Origin: Soviet Union
In Service: 1945-present
Used By: USSR, Member of the Warsaw Pact, Vietnam
Wars: Vietnam War, Afghanistan, various Middle East conflicts
Designed: 1944
Produced: 1944-1960s
Weight: 7.5 kg (16.5 lb) empty 8.9 kg (19.6 lb) w/ 100-rd drum
Length: 1,037 mm
Barrel length: 521 mm
Cartridge: 7.62x39 mm M43
Calibre: 7.62 mm
Action: Gas-operated
Rate of Fire: 650 round/min
Muzzle Velocity: 735 m/s
Feed System: 100-round drum