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Heavy flamethrower system


The TOS-1A is intended for direct fire support of advancing infantry and main battle tanks

Entered service 2001
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 44.3 t
Length 7.24 m
Width 3.58 m
Height 3.07 m
Caliber 220-mm
Number of tubes 24
Rocket weight 173 or 217 kg
Warhead weight 45 kg
Firing range 0.4 - 6 km
Full salvo duration 6 / 12 s
Reloading time ?
Engine V-84MS diesel
Engine power 840 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 550 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 0.85 m
Trench 2.6 - 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m


   The TOS-1A is the latest version of the original TOS-1 heavy flamethrower system. It was adopted by the Russian Army in 2001. The TOS-1A was used by the Russian Army in Chechnya. This heavy flamethrower system has been exported to Azerbaijan (18), Iraq (4) and Kazakhstan (3). Iraqi systems have seen combat during the fights with Islamic State fighters. It seems that the TOS-1A has also been exported to Syria, where it has seen combat during the Syrian Civil War.

   The TOS-1A 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 it fires different types of rockets and has a shorter firing range.

   The main element of the TOS-1A system is the BM-1 launch vehicle. A number of launching tubes was reduced from 30 to 24, arranged in three rows of eight tubes each. New launching tubes are longer in comparison with the previous heavy flamethrower system. There are at least two types of 220-mm rockets. These are 3.3 and 3.7 m long and weight 173 and 217 kg respectively. The TOS-1A uses longer rockets and has a longer range than its predecessor. Maximum range of fire was increased to 6 000 m. Minimum range is 400 m.

   There are at least two types of warheads - incendiary and thermobaric. The thermobaric weapons are also called vacuum or fuel-air explosives. 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-1A heavy flamethrower system launches a single rocket, or a pair of two rockets within 0.5 s. Full salvo duration is 12 and 6 seconds in automatic mode respectively.

   The BM-1 launching vehicle has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver. It 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. The launcher vehicle is prepared for firing at a visible target within 90 seconds.

   The TOS-1A launcher is mounted on a modified T-72A main battle tank chassis. Vehicle is powered by a V-84MS diesel engine, developing 840 hp. It is fitted with a self-entrenching blade. Armor protection of this system is similar to that of the T-72A MBT.

   This heavy flamethrower is supported by a new TZM-T reloading vehicle, which is used to transport and reload rockets. It carries a full set of reload rockets in two pods for 12 rockets each. A crane is mounted between these units. Reloading vehicle also carries 400 liters of fuel for the BM-1 launch vehicle. The TZM-T is operated by a crew of three.

   Also recently appeared a reloading vehicle, based on KamAZ-6350 8x8 truck. It also carries two pods of reload rockets with a crane mounted in between.


Sergey V. Gurov

   Article by SERGEI V. GUROV

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Video of the TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system



TZM-T reloading vehicle






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