TOS-1 BURATINO gallery

This vehicle was the culmination of an idea that emerged in the late 1970s concerning a vehicle that fired short-range heavy rockets armed with thermobaric and incendiary warheads. This type of ammunition is characterized by being extremely effective against buildings and protected personnel in bunkers, fortified positions or caves. The state company KBTM (Omsktransmash) took charge of the project and developed both the rockets, the reloading vehicle (TZM) and the launch vehicle (BM).
By the mid-1980s the system was ready and remained secret from the West for several years, shown in public for the first time in 1999. The system was named as TOS-1 Buratino (Object 634 or TOS-1M) and was known in the Soviet Army as “Tyazholaya Ognemotnaya Sistema” (heavy flamethrower system). This designation was due to the type of ammunition used, which consisted of 220mm caliber rockets that could carry two different warheads, one incendiary and the other of fuel-air explosive type, also known as “thermobaric” or “vacuum”.
The TOS-1 is basically a T-72A tank chassis fitted with a 30-cell rocket launcher installed on a powered rotating platform that allowed it to fire in any direction and elevation. The launcher uses a tank chassis because the short range of the rockets means that the system has to get quite close to the front line and needs a high degree of protection. The rocket launcher was composed by 30 launching tubes distributed in a upper row of 6 tubes plus three rows of 8 tubes each. The reloading vehicle was a 6×6 KrAZ-255B truck (on the image) that had a crane to handle the heavy rockets and load them into the launcher.
The maximum range of the rockets was 3,500 meters, with a minimum range of 400 meters. All 30 rockets could be fired in a single salvo in 7.5 seconds, although different salvo types could be selected. A full salvo can devastate an area of about 80,000 m2. At the front of the hull was a dozer blade to provide a firing position and to help stabilize the vehicle during firing.
TOS-1 Buratino had a crew of three, driver, gunner and commander, who could aim and fire from inside the hull. The vehicle had a fire control system and could fire, once the vehicle stopped, in a maximum time of about 90 seconds. These vehicles were not framed in artillery units, but in Russian NBC Protection Troops, probably in the 70th Separate Flamethrower Battalion based in Razdolnoye, Primorye.
Very few examples of this vehicle were produced, about 24 according to some sources, of which several were sent to Afghanistan for testing in 1988. It is known that they participated in combat in the Panjshir Valley against the mujahideen during the Soviet-Afghan War. A decade later, some were deployed during the Second Chechen War (1999-2002). This weapon system was not exported and was used exclusively by the Russian armed forces. In 2003 the TOS-1 were replaced by a modernized variant known as TOS-1A Solntsepyok or Solntsepek.
The effectiveness of TOS-1 is “guaranteed” by the use of controversial thermobaric warheads. This type of ammunition generates destruction similar to that caused by atomic weapons, and really terrible damage to people. However, they are not on the list of prohibited weapons against military targets, although their use against the civilian population or cities is unauthorized by the United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Despite certain international protests, it has not currently been possible to officially regulate or restrict its use.

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