The lightweight, shoulder launched weapons known as RPGs were originally designed to damage tanks. Their name, in fact, means "handheld antitank grenade launcher" in the language of its original Soviet manufacturers, Russian: Ruchnoy Protivotankovy Granatomyot,. In common English usage, RPG is understood to stand for Rocket Propelled Grenade. Those most widely in use today are RPG-7s, first developed by the Soviets.
Despite their originally intended use as anti-tank weapons, RPGs inflict most damage on unarmed vehicles and personnel in conflicts today, since tanks have been designed to resist RPG attacks.
RPGs' easy portability, low cost and wide availability on black markets of the Middle East and Eastern Europe make them popular among terrorist groups and other sub-state militias. They were used by mujahideen in the Soviet-Afghan war and are currently used by insurgents in the Iraq War.