What The New Rockets For The Tos-2 “tosochka” Flamethrower Are Capable Of

State tests of the latest rockets for the TOS-2 Tosochka heavy flamethrower system will begin in 2021. This was announced by the executive director of JSC “NPK Tekhmash” Alexander Kochkin. The new shells have an increased firing range and more power at the target. “Tosochka” represents the evolution of TOS-1A “Solntsepёk”. Military experts noted that with the new thermobaric shells, Tosochka will become an indispensable weapon for the Russian Armed Forces.

“A set of rockets for TOS-2 is entering the state testing stage. In 2021, an experimental batch is being purchased for conducting experimental military tests, ”TASS quotes Kochkin as saying.

He explained that the new missiles for the TOS-2 will differ from the existing ones in the increased firing range and power of action at the target. The ammunition developed by NPO Splav affects enemy armored vehicles and structures, creating a high-temperature field and excess pressure on the target area, at which a salvo of thermobaric shells is used.

From “Buratino” to “Tosochka”

TOS-2 is an evolution of the TOS-1A “Solntsepёk” heavy flamethrower system, which, in turn, was a deep modification of the Soviet TOS-1 “Buratino”.

“Buratino” was a launcher with a package of 30 guide tubes for launching thermobaric projectiles, placed on the chassis of a T-72 tank. The choice in favor of a tracked platform was explained by the large mass of the package of guides. An important role was played by the relatively small firing range (up to 4 km). This distance implied the proximity of enemy positions, which required an increased level of protection for the vehicle.

The crew of “Buratino” carried out targeting without leaving the vehicle, by analogy with a conventional tank. The TOS-1 flamethrower system was recommended for adoption in 1980 and took part in the hostilities in Afghanistan.

TOS-1A “Solntsepёk” during the main stage of the exercises “Center-2019” at the “Donguz” training ground
RIA Novosti © Vladimir Astapkovich

In 2001, an updated version of “Buratino” – TOS-1A “Solntsepёk” was developed. In the new modification, the number of guide tubes for launching shells was reduced from 30 to 24, and the transport-loading vehicle was transferred from the KrAZ truck to the chassis of the T-72 tank.

“Solntsepeki” were successfully used in Syria, and the analysis of the experience gained led to the decision to transfer the new TOS-2 flamethrower system to a wheeled chassis based on the Ural car with increased carrying capacity and cross-country ability. This was announced back in 2017 by Nikolai Makarovets, who held the post of general designer of the enterprise – the developer of machines – NPO Splav.

“This is a development of the Solntsepёk project, but this system, unlike the previous one, will have a wheeled chassis. The experience of operating TOS in desert zones has shown that wheeled chassis are better for them, ”RIA Novosti quotes him as saying.

The TOS-2, in comparison with its predecessors, will have a reduced number of launch guides – from 24 to 18. Rostec notes that this will be offset by an increase in the power and range of the shells. At the same time, “Tosochka” can work with old shells from “Buratino” and “Solntsepёkov”, as it uses the same caliber – 220 mm.

Unlike the previous systems, the TOS-2 has its own lifting mechanism, which means that it does not need a transport-loading machine, without which the previous TOS could make a maximum of one salvo. Shells for “Toosochka” can be delivered on any vehicle, and the loading is provided by the vehicle’s crew.

The TOS-2 system is equipped with modern navigation equipment, including a laser rangefinder, satellite navigation, a Doppler speed meter and an inertial measuring unit. “Tosochka” can fire from unprepared combat positions, and aiming, shooting and fire control are fully automated. In addition, it is equipped with an electronic protection system against precision weapons.

The main difference between TOS and cannon artillery or multiple launch rocket systems is the use of special vacuum-thermobaric shells, Dmitry Litovkin, editor of the newspaper Nezavisimoye Voennoye Obozreniye, explained in a commentary to RT.

“The main thing in these systems is a projectile that explodes at a distance of up to 10 km, creating a vacuum explosion and destroying everything within the radius of the explosion. If a jet flamethrower pours in a certain place, then the fire from the projectiles of this system spreads into all cracks, trenches, trenches. This is a terrible weapon, first of all for the infantry, ”the expert noted.

Fire TOS-2 “Tosochka”
© Vitaly Kuzmin

According to him, since such installations are self-propelled, they can be used for demining the front line of the front, to advance in the first rows of motorized rifle and tank units.

“It is important to note that these systems have a terrifying psychological effect on the enemy when they are hit with such thermobaric projectiles. The same was experienced by the opponents of the USSR during the Great Patriotic War, at which the Katyushas were fired with thermite shells, ”Litovkin said.

Foreign attention

The trial operation of the TOS-2 in the troops began in 2020. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu then said that Tosochka was first deployed during the Kavkaz-2020 strategic command and staff exercises. In addition, the system took part in the parade in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War.

It is worth noting that the latest Russian flamethrower system has attracted the attention of foreign military experts. For example, last year the American military analytical publication The National Interest released the material “This is a formidable new weapon that can be used by Russia in order to destroy American tanks.”

“While many countries, including the United States, have stopped using flamethrowers, Moscow continues to make renewed efforts to use fire in modern combat. We are not talking about the knapsack complexes that were in service with the infantry during the First and Second World Wars – Russia has developed a TOS-1A Solntsepёk multiple launch rocket system installed on the chassis of a T-72 tank for launching thermobaric rockets, “the publication wrote …

The National Interest headline “This is a formidable new weapon that can be used by Russia to destroy US tanks.”
© The National Interest

In its material, The National Interest noted that the Tosochka heavy flamethrower systems are being tested, and also drew attention to their successful use in the Kavkaz-2020 exercises, where they hit targets imitating enemy tanks with unguided thermobaric projectiles.

Military expert Yuri Knutov said that the shells used in flamethrower systems of the TOS family spray a combustible substance in the form of an aerosol and undermine the resulting gas cloud.

“Due to the fact that the mixture has the form of an aerosol, it can flow into various cracks, crevices, shelters where the enemy’s personnel are located, after which it is quite effective to hit the target,” the expert explained.

The interlocutor of RT noted the improved characteristics that were given to the new flamethrower system based on the experience of using the TOS-1A “Solntsepёk” in Syria.

“TOS-2, unlike its predecessor, is based on the Ural car, it has a simplified reloading system, which requires minimal personnel involvement. In addition, the system can enter coordinates both automatically and manually … This is a serious weapon that should be used on the front line, ”the expert emphasized.

A short time for deployment and folding makes this weapon highly mobile, allows it to inflict maximum damage on the enemy and at the same time ensure maximum survivability of personnel and equipment itself, Knutov noted.

“The fact that the range and accuracy of these charges will be increased is an important point that plays a fundamental role today. This technique is highly maneuverable, highly accurate, and irreplaceable. It will not only strengthen the capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces, but will terrify opponents, like the famous Katyushas during the Great Patriotic War, “the expert concluded.

Author: Alexander Karpov, Alena Medvedeva
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