Constantly upgraded to increase combat power, Russia’s large UAV Geran-2 is now equipped with a thermobaric warhead with terrible destructive power.

Images in the media showed the TBG-7V thermobaric rocket attached to the drone. While the use of drones is not new, the employment of such munitions is quite surprising and especially provides a new level of destructive capability for a kamikaze drone.

A photograph appeared on social media on December 3 with a message that suggested that Ukrainian insiders believe Russia had developed a 40-kilogram thermobaric warhead for the Geran-2 or Shahed-136 kamikaze drone, making it analogous to the TOS-1A flamethrower. If the use of a thermobaric bomb by Geran-2 drones is eventually confirmed, it could come as a massive threat to the Ukrainians due to the bomb’s lethality.

Having two different explosive charges, thermobaric weapons are mostly made of fuel, not oxygen, as is the case with other bombs. This allows them to carry more energy and be more destructive in field operations to blow up bunkers, tunnels, and foxholes. These bombs could blow up residential buildings and could be detrimental to the safety of civilians. The uniqueness of these weapons lies in their ability to cause considerable damage over large areas, making their use particularly formidable in urban environments or confined spaces.

The weapon can be dropped from an airplane or launched like a rocket. Upon impact, the main explosive charge bursts open the container, dispersing the fuel mixture like a cloud. This cloud can get through partially sealed defenses or openings in buildings. That dust cloud is then destroyed by a second charge, which also creates a massive blast wave, a firestorm, and a vacuum that absorbs all the oxygen in the area.

The TBG-7V, in particular, is designed for use with the RPG-7 grenade launcher, a widely spread and easily accessible weapon system. Its effective range is about 200 to 300 meters, with the ability to penetrate armored or fortified targets before triggering the thermobaric explosion. This versatility makes the TBG-7V especially suitable for mounting on drones, thus adding a new dimension to its battlefield application, and significantly increasing its range.

The use of kamikaze drones equipped with such munitions in Ukraine offers several tactical advantages. Notably, the increased precision of strikes allows for specifically targeting key infrastructures or concentrations of enemy troops.

The weight of a TBG-7V, adapted for use with the RPG-7 grenade launcher, is about 4.5 kg. This munition is designed to be relatively lightweight while maintaining considerable explosive power, making it compatible with various launch platforms, including drones.

If conventional suicide UAV attacks have been difficult for Ukrainian forces, the addition of a thermobaric drone could cause double trouble, as has been demonstrated by Russia’s deployment and use of the TOS-1A Multiple Launch Rocket System which wreaked havoc on the country.

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