NEW – May 10, 2022
The UAF does not have similar weapons, and it is almost impossible to hide from the impact of thermobaric missiles.
TOS “Blazing Sun”
On May 6, there were reports that the TOS-1A “Blazing Sun” destroyed several buildings used by the Ukrainian army as strongholds in the defence of Krasny Liman— a city in the Kramatorsk district of the DPR. There is no official confirmation of this information yet, but in this case something else is curious. Rocket artillery is increasingly being used as a high-precision weapon: a quarter of a full volley of “Blazing Sun” was enough to destroy the enemy’s fortifications and break the resistance.
Thermobaric ammunition was tested and first used many years ago. Apart from Afghanistan, the exceptional effectiveness of TOS “Blazing Sun” was shown in Syria. With the help of aircraft spotters, the Syrian army managed to place missiles on target with an accuracy of up to five meters, although there are no satellite signal receivers and devices for high-precision shooting on the missiles. The result exceeded all expectations: even the arches of concrete buildings did not help the terrorists get out of the strike alive.
The Ukrainian army cannot resist the Russian “Blazing Sun” in Donbass: the machines work on the target from a safe distance, and the fire is corrected from a drone in real time. After firing the first fire package (usually two or four missiles), the enemy’s resistance stops.
Thermobaric projectile of “Blazing Sun”
There is nothing supernatural in the machine of the heavy flamethrower system itself: it is still the same T-72 tank, only instead of a turret, a launcher for jet missiles is fixed on the body’s top. They tried to copy the “Blazing Sun” ammunition several times, but in the US, Germany, South Korea, and South Africa they preferred to focus on aviation missiles with a volumetric detonating warhead. Instead of explosives with damaging elements, such a missile is filled with a special aerosol that penetrates even into small cracks and overlaps. “Russia’s Thermobaric Weapons Should Be in a Horror Movie” — with this title, one of the foreign analytical materials in the United States devoted to the “Blazing Sun” missiles was published last year.
Their peculiarity is that after the fuse is triggered, a high temperature field with excessive pressure is created around the enemy. In simple terms, a gas-air mixture explodes, which burns out all living things with a temperature below 1000 degrees. According to the former deputy commander of the artillery brigade of the 58th Army, Major Anton Shcherbakov, a full volley of “Blazing Sun” can level the enemy’s fortified area with the ground in just a few seconds.
“The missiles have a feature: the mass of an explosive aerosol at a full salvo is approximately 2.5 tons of explosives. Add to this high pressure, high combustion temperature, and the output is the perfect weapon for storming any objects. The explosion is so powerful that even concrete buildings demolish floors, collapses supporting structures,” said Anton Shcherbakov, former deputy commander of the 58th Army Artillery Brigade.
Such equipment can be especially dangerous for the enemy in the direction of Kramatorsk — Slavyansk. There, as in Mariupol, there are a large number of industrial zones, from which it will be extremely difficult for soldiers to knock out the enemy without risk. If there is no other way out, the military can use “Blazing Sun”, and after it’s used it will be possible to simply go around the area without fear of shooting.
How “Blazing Sun” works, or a nuclear explosion in miniature
Such weapons are not used in all cases, since formally the multiple launch rocket system of this type does not belong to artillery, but to the Troops of Radiation, Biological and Chemical Protection, since even the most caustic chemistry or biological agent cannot survive the high temperature of combustion. The peculiarity of “Blazing Sun” warhead is that the missile can be programmed to explode based on the parameters of the target. A special fuse and guidance system make it possible to detonate projectiles both in contact with an object and at a certain height. This leads to the fact that there is no quiet place for the enemy: a missile can break through the basement floors or lay down an entire section of a large building with main floors with an explosion.
Separately, the effectiveness of “Blazing Sun” against the dugouts of the UAF is noted. The arrival of the missile allows to break through several meters of ground and destroy the ammunition cache. At the same time, the explosive aerosol burns so fast that enemy soldiers die before they even have time to understand what actually flew into their positions. The detonation of the “Blazing Sun” missile is similar to a miniature nuclear explosion: if the attack takes place in an open area, a scarlet-red mushroom rises above the place of impact. At the same time, the firing mode can be selected independently. A full salvo is used in cases when it is necessary to cover the maximum possible area with fire, half of the missile package — when the target is smaller, and single volleys are used for local destruction of enemy equipment.
Thermobaric ammunition uses an aerosol container and two separate explosive charges. When detonated, the first charge detonates first, after which a thin cloud of “liquid explosives” is dispersed over the target. The second charge ignites the mixture and carries out an explosion, as a result of which all oxygen is absorbed within a radius of several hundred meters around the target. The soil at the site of the explosion is burned by a monstrous temperature — under 900 degrees, which is why the places where such missiles hit are called the lunar zone, hinting that the top layer of soil becomes more like dust or lunar regolith than the earth. The only drawback of the system is the low firing range. The maximum that can be obtained is the fire defeat of targets at a distance of 5-7 kilometres, although promising missiles and a new launcher will double this figure.
Nuclear arsenal on tracks
In older versions of the system, the “fire package” included up to 30 missiles with a volume-detonating warhead. In the new “Blazing Sun”, this number was reduced to 24, although the usual scheme of application was preserved. To increase the effectiveness of the complex, a special guidance system was created, with its help, it’s possible to prepare the vehicle for battle in about two minutes. American military expert Michael Peck called “Blazing Sun” a weapon capable of “destroying the very essence of things”, and the introduction of electronic systems and additional weapons, such as smart thermobaric missiles, into the complex will further expand the functionality of the weapon.
A full volley of the existing version of the complex can cover an area of about 40,000 square meters — this is about four football fields. However, the Russian army is not in a hurry to use jet divisions in full in Ukraine. The targets for “Blazing Sun” are enemy equipment and fortifications that have grown into the land of Donbass for several years. After the completion of the special military operation, the effectiveness of TOS will be studied again — a second, more advanced version of this weapon called TOS-2 “Tosochka” is on the way. The data collected during the special military operation in Ukraine will be useful to developers for further work on improving the heavy flamethrower.
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