Nicknamed Buratino, the TOS-1 multiple rocket launcher becomes a strategic thermobaric weapon that is considered to have accuracy and power second only to atomic weapons.
In the context of unresolved tensions in the Donbass, Russia has transported TOS-1A multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon systems to the border of Belarus and Ukraine. In a video, viewers can see at least seven TOS-1A systems being transported on carriages, heading towards Belarus.
Nicknamed Buratino, the TOS-1 multiple rocket launcher becomes a strategic thermobaric weapon that is considered to have accuracy and power second only to atomic weapons. Tos-1 was developed under the Soviet Union in the late 1970s of the last century, capable of launching incendiary or fuel-air explosive warheads at short range. It consists of a system of 220 mm 30 or 24 barrels, designed to provide direct fire support to advancing infantry and main battle tanks, in open terrain in particular.
The fuel-air explosive weapons are also called as vacuum or thermobaric. This type of munitions releases a large cloud of flammable gas and causes massive explosions. It is used to clear out bunkers and other fortifications. The TOS-1 system has a relatively short maximum firing range of only 3.5 km. Minimum range is 400 meters. This system launches a single rocket or a pair of two rockets within 0.5 s. Full salvo duration is 7.5 or 15 seconds. A full salvo covers area of 200 by 400 meters.
The TOS-1 is fitted with a modern fire control system. All guidance and firing procedures are made from the inside of the vehicle without exposing crew to enemy fire. Vehicle can stop and fire at a visible target within 90 seconds from travelling. This system is operated by a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.
The entire system is mounted on the modified T-72 main battle tank chassis. It is equipped with a V-84-1 diesel engine, developing 840 hp. The vehicle is fitted with a self-entrenching blade. Its armor protection is similar to that of the T-72 MBT. The TZM reloading vehicle was built on the chassis of a KrAZ-255B cross-country truck and equipped with a crane for loading/unloading of the launcher.
In 2003, the improved TOS-1A system entered service with the range extended to 6 kilometers and a better ballistic computer. In March 2020, Russia introduced a new rocket for the TOS-1A with a range of 10 km, achieved in part by weight and size reductions of a new fuel air explosive mixture in the warhead, while also increasing its power. Minimum range is extended from 400 m to 1.6 km.
The TOS-1 Buratino is a unique Russian self-propelled rocket launcher that has been proven effective in hot spots such as Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Syria. First combat tests took place in 1988 and 1989 in the Panjshir Valley during the Soviet–Afghan War. In addition, the TOS-1 rocket launcher was also present in the protracted conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia. Many sources said that Russia has sold TOS-1A to both sides, Azerbaijan has 18 and the number of these weapons in the Armenian army is still unknown.