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Syrian experience

“Tosochka” will light some fire

How the operation in the Middle East allows for the improvement of intimidating combat systems

On the final stage of creating a new heavy flamethrower system “Tosochka”, Vladimir Lepin, general director of the Techmash concern, spoke at the Army-2019 forum. At the moment it has entered the second stage of state tests. And in the foreseeable time we can expect its adoption by the troops of radiation, chemical and biological protection. According to Lepin, the new modification of the system is more effective than the TOC-1A “Solntsepek”, which has undergone modernization.


Against the background of the frequent reports about the postponement of the development and introduction of various military complexes to the troops, the news of Tosochka’s exit to the finish line is, one can say, a pleasant surprise. Only three years ago, Colonel Mikhail Osyko, head of the Defense Order Support Department of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, said that the issue of creating a new heavy flamethrower was being worked out. It should surpass the existing TOC-1A “Solntsek” in efficiency.


And last year, Vladimir Lepin said that NPO Splav, which is part of Tekhmash, began to produce prototypes of Tosochka.

So what is the “Sun”? And what did the designers of “Splav” do with it in terms of increasing combat effectiveness?


Instead of ground attack aircraft, ground forces on the battlefield will support a “flying howitzer” with fire?

It must be said that before the “Solntsepek” in the Soviet armed forces there was the TOS-1 “Buratino”, the first in the country and in the world heavy flamethrower system. It was created in 1988 on the platform of the main battle tank T-72. Instead of a gun turret, a block of 30 guides was mounted on the crawler chassis to launch unguided rockets of 220 mm caliber with a combustible mixture. The firing range was from 400 m to 3,600 m. The area of ​​destruction – 40,000 sq.m. Together with the launchers of the flame-throwing units, the transport-charging machines on the wheeled chassis, equipped with a projectile-setting mechanism, were transferred. Two “Buratino” combat vehicles were used with great success in Afghanistan against the Mujahideen.


The principle of the TOS was not new. Similarly, multiple rocket launcher systems (MLRS) are designed, the progenitor of which is the famous Katyusha. The same guides on the chassis, wheeled or tracked, which are used to launch rockets with a minimum period of time in the volley. The difference in the combat parts of the shells. Traditionally, the MLRS is high-explosive fragmentation warheads. Then came penetrating. TOS, on the other hand, uses only self-igniting combustible mixtures. They are more effective than high-explosive fragmentation warheads, not so much against manpower as against technology, causing fires and ignition of military equipment, including lightly armored.


There is also a thermobaric charge similar in effect to the “vacuum bomb” combat effect. The principle of operation is the instantaneous burning within a significant spatial volume of air. In this connection, there is a zone of reduced pressure, into which air bursts in at a tremendous speed, creating a powerful shock wave. It can destroy not only ground fortified engineering structures, but also underground bunkers.


All this has a strong stress on the enemy. This happened since the times of the First World War, when flamethrowers with backpack flamethrowers were not taken prisoner, destroying them with particular bitterness on the spot.


In 2001, the TOS-1A “Solntsepek”, a modification of “Buratino”, appeared. The American magazine Popular Mechanics devoted such a passage to her: “A full volley of a flamethrower system can incinerate eight city blocks, creating a hell for all who find themselves in the affected area. It’s hard to find something more intimidating among ground-based weapons systems. ”


In the process of upgrading “Buratino” transport-loading car “transplanted” to the tracked chassis. They reduced the number of guides from 30 to 24. But at the same time, the power of rockets increased. A volley covers the same area of ​​40,000 square meters. But the maximum firing range increased to 6,700 meters.


The combat vehicle control system was also updated. Introduced on-board computer with high performance. Improved firing accuracy due to the use of a more advanced sighting system based on an optical sight, laser rangefinder and roll sensor. Shooting is done automatically. With a single firing 24 missiles are released in 12 seconds, with a steam room – in 6 seconds.


A crew of three is protected by armor. There is an automatic fire extinguishing system, as well as sealing, there is a filtering unit. There is an opportunity to expose smoke screens for masking. For self-defense there is a 5.45-mm machine gun, two assault rifles and a set of RPG-26 and F-1 grenades.


Three “Sunpieces” in the middle of this decade were bought by Iraq. They were used to combat ISIS. In particular, they played a significant role in the operation to free Mosul.


This system was used in Syria. According to the results of its military actions, a list of advantages and disadvantages was compiled, which appeared during the operation of the “Suntsepek” in climatic conditions that were not entirely characteristic of it. The features of actions against terrorists were also taken into account when the location of multiple opponents is changing at high speed, and the concept of front and flanks is too vague and not entirely specific.


It was this run-in of the system at the “new test site” that led to the decision to develop a new modification, called “Tosochka”. Its main difference is the use of a wheeled chassis. In the Middle East, where there are no, like in Europe and especially in Russia, wetlands, a tracked chassis does not make much sense. Because of the machines do not require high permeability.


In this case, wheeled chassis in conditions of high dynamics of movement and rearrangement of forces is extremely beneficial. Because it has a higher moving speed. It also requires less fuel per kilometer.


There is one more reason. Tracked vehicles, moving their course over long distances, poorly tolerates the road. What is directly related to its lower running power compared with wheeled vehicles. That is why tanks, armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles are transported to the site of operations in trailers and on platforms attached to tractors. That is, in fact, this technique moves on the same wheels. So why in the regions similar to the Middle East, not to abandon the tracks?


Experts believe that chassis replacement is also of commercial importance. TOS “Tosochka” is able to interest buyers from countries belonging to the desert and steppe natural areas.


Regarding the launchers themselves, the fire control system and the ammunition capabilities, no special information was made available to the public. As they say, let it be a surprise for opponents. Only military expert Viktor Murakhovsky expressed his thoughts on the air of Sputnik radio: “… As far as I know, it is planned to increase the range and also introduce corrected ammunition into the ammunition. They can more accurately hit targets and, for example, possess such capabilities as undermining on a trajectory, that is, exactly at the time when the ammunition is above the target. ”


All these things are quite solvable for TOS. Since they are already used in multiple launch rocket systems. Moreover, they are solved by the design team of the NPO Splav, because it was here that the Russian MLRS were created, and here they are further developed.

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