M-80 Zolja

M-80 zolja fired by Macedonian soldier during exercise

The M-80 Zolja is an anti-tank handheld rocket launcher. It is a single shot system chambered in caliber 64 mm. The weapon was produced in the former Yugoslavia, and it is still produced in the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Macedonia. The M-80 Zolja is a recoilless  infantry weapon for single use. The lLauncher and the rocket are combined into one unit. The M-80 is very similar to American rocket launcher of same type M-72 LAW, but the M-80 have better accuracy and effective range.

It’s production started in need for a small portable weapon that could allow each soldier to be able to easily destroy an enemy light armored vehicle, fortification or soldiers without special training. The M-80 Zolja was made from lightweight materials (fiber with reinforced plastic) which make it relatively small and very light. It means it is easily portable and can be added to the equipment of every regular soldier. However, the need for smaller dimensions is the major reason why the M-80 Zolja have much smaller caliber than other anti-armor weapons produced in former Yugoslavia.

The M-80 Zolja container

The M-80 Zolja launcher is telescopic and it is made of two tubes which are completely drawn one to another. It also contains firing mechanism, sights (rear and front), carry handles and two covers (front and back) to prevent dust from entering the tubes during transport. The telescopic design significantly improved its size and making it very small in transport mode than in the position for action. Changing modes from transport to action is very simple and easy and takes only a few seconds.

The M-80 Zolja rocket launcher manufactured in former Yugoslavia

The M-80 Zolja rocket

The rocket used in M-80 Zolja anti-tank system is 64 mm caliber. The rocket is located in the back of the launcher and it is made of an explosive warhead, stabilizer fins, and rocket engines. It is able to penetrate 300 mm of steel armor at an angle of 90 degrees. The rocket is fitted with a contact or piezoelectric detonator. Self-destruction mechanism is also incorporated in the rocket in order to be destroyed after 4-6 seconds of flight does not hit the target. Rocket fuel is burned only when the rocket is in the grain and the speed of the rocket on the end of the tube is 190 meters per second.

Technical features

Caliber: 64 mm
Launchers Weight: 3 kg
Weight launchers (rocket without grains): 1.58 kg
Weight rocket grains: 1.42 kg
Warhead weight: 0.31 kg
Weight of fuel: 0128 kg
Length launchers (in marching position): 800 mm
Length launchers (in a fighting position): 1200 mm
Length rocket grains (with cupped wings): 664 mm
The initial speed of grain: 190 m / s
Dielectric power: 300 mm
Range (target size of 2 m): 220 m
Maximum range: 1280 m