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Heavy flamethrower system


The TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system fires incendiary and thermobaric rockets

Entered service 1980s
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 42 t
Length 9.53 m
Width 3.37 m
Height 3.23 m
Caliber 220-mm
Number of tubes 30
Rocket weight ?
Warhead weight ?
Firing range 0.4 - 3.5 km
Full salvo duration 7.5 -15 s
Reloading time ?
Engine V-84-1 diesel
Engine power 840 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 550 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 0.85 m
Trench 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m


   The TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system is intended for direct fire support of advancing infantry and main battle tanks, and moves in their combat orders. It is designed to engage military personnel, fortifications and light armored vehicles. The heavy flamethrower system is generally similar to multiple launch rocket systems, however fires different types of rockets and has shorter firing range. The TOS-1 was developed in the early 1980s and was successfully used by the Soviet Army in Afghanistan and later by the Russian forces in Chechnya. It is nicknamed the 'Buratino'. It seems that the original TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system was used only for trials and evaluation. It seems that it was never produced in quantity. Also the TOS-1 was never exported.

   The TOS-1 fires 220-mm rockets. There are two types of warheads - incendiary and fuel-air explosive. 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 heavy flamethrower system has a relatively short maximum firing range of only 3.5 km. Minimum range is 400 meters. This heavy flamethrower 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 of this flamethrower system 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 flamethrower system is operated by a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   This heavy flamethrower system is mounted on the modified T-72 main battle tank chassis. It is powered by the V-84-1 diesel engine, developing 840 horsepower. Vehicle is fitted with a self-entrenching blade. Its armor protection is similar to that of the T-72 main battle tank.

   Reloading is assisted by a TZM reloading vehicle, which also uses chassis of the T-72 main battle tank. It is used to transport and reload rockets. It is equipped with a crane and carries a set of reload rockets. Reloading vehicle is also operated by a crew of three. Some sources claim that there is also a reloading vehicle built on the chassis of a cross-country truck.




   TOS-1A is the latest variant of the original heavy flamethrower system. It was accepted to service with the Russian Army in 2001. The BM-1 launch vehicle uses longer 220-mm rockets. Also a number of launching tubes was reduced from 30 to 24. New launching tubes are longer in comparison with the previous system. Maximum range of fire was increased to 6 000 m. This heavy flamethrower is supported by a new TZM-T reloading vehicle. It carries two units for 12 rockets each. A crane is mounted between these units. Reloading vehicle also carries 400 liters of fuel for the launch vehicle.


   Some of these pictures and updated information was sent us by SERGEI V. GUROV

   Thank you Sergei!

   Send us your own articles. Please visit guidelines for writers for more information.


Video of the TOS-1 "Buratino" heavy flamethrower system


TOS-1A improved heavy flamethrower system


TZM-T reloading vehicle







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