The RPO-A Shmel (Russian: РПО-А Шмель, tr. RPO-A Bumblebee) is a man-portable rocket launcher, although it is classified as a flamethrower (Russian Реактивный Пехотный Огнемет / Reaktivnyy Pekhotnyy Ognemet, Reactive Infantry Flamethrower) by the manufacturer, KBP, Tula.
The Shmel is designed, produced and exported by the Russian Federation and previously by the Soviet Union. It entered service with the Soviet Armed Forces at the end of the 1980s as the successor for the RPO Rys.
The RPO-A is a single-shot, self-contained tube shaped launcher that operates much like some RPG and LAW rocket launchers. The launcher is a sealed tube, carried in a man-pack in pairs. The same person can remove the tube, place it in firing position, and launch the weapon without assistance. After launch, the tube is discarded. All models are externally similar.
Each weapon contains a single rocket, of which there are three varieties. The basic rocket is the RPO-A, which has a thermobaric warhead and is designed for attacking soft targets under moderate cover. The RPO-Z is the incendiary warhead (Rus. зажигательный / Zazhigatel'nyy, Incendiary) designed to spread fire and ignite targets. Finally, there is a smoke-producing warhead (Rus. дымовой / Dymovoy, Smoke) offered, the RPO-D.