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Russia Developing Unmanned Flame-Throwing Systems

The Russian army will soon receive unmanned flame-throwing systems for its nuclear, biological, and chemical protection (NBCP) troops, Izvestia reported, citing sources.

According to the Moscow-based news outlet, the flame-throwers are part of the new weapon systems accepted by the Russian Ministry of Defense for deployment with NBCP troops.

The outlet cited experts as saying that the flame-throwing kits, to be fitted on unmanned aircraft or quadcopters, will be particularly effective in urban combat and to destroy enemy fortifications. “They will help save the lives of civilians and soldiers in street battles,” the outlet added.

Russian Flame-Throwers

Russia has a range of flame throwers such as the hand-held Bumblebee, Buratino, Solntsepek, and Tosochka. These systems use thermobaric ammunition — or aerosol bombs — which use oxygen from the air to produce high-temperature explosions.

NBCP head Lieutenant General Igor Kirillov revealed that a new drone-based flame-thrower kit is in the design phase. He added that the system will feature a sighting tool for greater efficacy.

TOS-1A flamethrower, the predecessor of TOS-2 “Tosochka”. Image: Omsk Transmash Design Bureau

Reduces Collateral Damage

The outlet cited expert Viktor Murakhovsky as saying, “Drones will allow you to quickly destroy targets in urban areas, as well as hidden in the folds of the relief or located in engineering structures. They are needed to hit important targets in the tactical rear of the enemy —  for example, ammunition and fuel depots, communications centers, and unarmored equipment on which command posts are based.”

He added that the use of flame-throwing drones will reduce collateral damage, as strikes will be precise. “They will avoid the destruction of buildings that are not related to military infrastructure, as well as reduce losses among civilians and military personnel. It is better to lose two drones or robots than one soldier.”

Tosochka Flamethrower

Meanwhile, Russia’s upcoming TOS-2 “Tosochka” heavy flamethrower was reportedly due for its final trial in August. Tests will reportedly last until the end of the year, after which officials will decide on deployment.

The mobile weapon can cover hundreds of kilometers, burning large tracts of land “in minutes” utilizing thermobaric ammunition. The TOS-2 has a firing range of 18 kilometers (11 miles) — three times greater than its predecessor — and its upgraded system is also equipped with a better guidance and fire control system. Vehicle speed remains the same at 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour.

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