M80 Zolja: Similar to M72 LAW but with better accuracy and effective range

Eric Sof

The M80 Zolja is an anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher. It is a single shot system chambered in a 64 mm caliber. Military Technical Institute Belgrade designed the weapon in the former Yugoslavia. The rocket launcher is still produced in the Republic of Serbia and Republic of Macedonia.

Design

The M80 Zolja is a recoilless infantry weapon for single use. The launcher and the rocket are combined into one unit. The M80 is very similar to the U.S.-made rocket launcher of the same type, M72 LAW, but the M80 has better accuracy and effective range.

M80 Zolja anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher unarmed
M80 Zolja anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher ready for transport (Photo: XY)

Its production started needing a small portable weapon that could allow each soldier to quickly destroy an enemy light armored vehicle, fortification, or soldiers without special training. The M80 Zolja was made from lightweight materials (fiber with reinforced plastic), making it relatively small and 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 primary reason the M80 Zolja has a much smaller caliber than other anti-armor weapons produced in the former Yugoslavia.

M80 Zolja container

The M80 Zolja launcher is telescopic, and it is made of two tubes entirely drawn from one to another. It also contains a firing mechanism, sights (rear and front), carries handles, and two covers (front and back) to prevent dust from entering the tubes during transport. The telescopic design significantly improved its size and made it very small in transport mode than in the position for action. Changing ways from unarmed to armed is very simple and easy and takes only a few seconds.

The M-80 Zolja rocket launcher manufactured in former Yugoslavia
M80 Zolja (Photo: XY)

 

Rocket

The rocket used in the M80 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 can penetrate 300 mm of steel armor at an angle of 90 degrees. The rocket is fitted with contact or a piezoelectric detonator. The self-destruction mechanism is also incorporated in the rocket 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 rocket’s speed on the end of the tube is 190 meters per second.

Technical features

Type: Anti-tank rocket-propelled grenade launcher
Place of origin: Yugoslavia, Republic of Serbia
In service: 1980-present
Caliber: 64 mm
Overall weight: 3 kg
Launcher weight: 1.58 kg
Rocket weight: 1.42 kg
Fuel weight: 0.128 kg
Length (unarmed): 800 mm
Length (armed): 1200 mm
Length (rocket with cupped wings): 664 mm
Muzzle velocity: 190 meters per second
Effective range (target size of 2 meters): 220 meters
Maximum range: 1280 meters
Detonation mechanism: Point-initiated, base-detonated