A terrifying video is doing the rounds on social media showing a barrage of thermobaric rockets fired from giant TOS-1A launchers descending upon Ukrainian positions.
Russia has widely used thermobaric weapons in its military operation in Ukraine. They are infamous for the widespread devastation they create due to their ability to tear through human organs.
The recent footage shared on a Russian Telegram channel and by a defense expert, Robee Lee, appears to be captured by a Russian UAV drone.
Lee tweeted, “Russian Orlan-10 UAV footage reportedly of TOS-1A thermobaric MLRS strikes on Ukrainian positions.”
In the 10-second clip, roughly a dozen rockets can be seen striking a small cluster of low-rise buildings reportedly in the eastern Donbas region.
— Rob Lee (@RALee85) May 16, 2022
The TOS-1A Thermobaric MLRS
The TOS-1A is a Soviet-era Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) system capable of firing thermobaric warheads. The surface-to-surface missile was first designed in the 1980s to attack fortified positions and destroy light armored vehicles.
The system is made of three components. The first is the BM-1 combat vehicle, a modified T-71A tank chassis that is fitted with a rotating rocket launcher on the top of the tank. It can store a total of 24 unguided thermobaric rockets, which can be fired in up to 12 seconds.
The TOS1-A is supported by TZM-5 re-supply vehicles. Each of the re-supply vehicles can carry up to 24 rockets and as much as 400 liters of fuel.
The TOS-1A can fire two kinds of rockets – the MO.1.01.04 and the MO.1.01.04M. The first rocket measures 3300 mm in length and 173 kg in weight, while the second one is 3700mm long and weighs 217kg. Missiles can be fired at a distance of up to 12km.
Thermobaric bombs, also called fuel-air bombs, are far more destructive than other conventional explosives. They work in two stages. When a charge is deployed, the first blast sprays a highly flammable fuel vapor throughout the surrounding area.
A second blast then ignites the vapor cloud in the air, resulting in a huge explosion, triggering a high-temperature fireball which sucks up the oxygen in the surrounding area and creates a massive blast wave that can rip through bunkers and rupture internal organs.
At the same time, the fireball can melt through defenses and vaporize bodies caught close to the explosion. Yet unlike cluster bombs, they are not banned under international law, as long as they are not used against civilians.
The use of TOS-1A weapons system in Ukraine was first confirmed by Britain’s Ministry of Defence in March.
The Russian MoD has confirmed the use of the TOS-1A weapon system in Ukraine. The TOS-1A uses thermobaric rockets, creating incendiary and blast effects.
Watch the video below for more information about this weapon and its devastating impact.
— Ministry of Defence ?? (@DefenceHQ) March 9, 2022
Ukraine Cedes Control Of Mariupol To Russia
The footage appeared as Ukraine’s military said on May 17 that it was working to evacuate all remaining troops from the Azovstal Steel Plant, which was the last Ukrainian stronghold in the besieged port city of Mariupol, finally ceding control of the city to Russia after months of bombardment.
About 600 troops were believed to have been inside the steel plant. Ukraine’s military said efforts were underway to evacuate those still inside. This has marked the end of the longest and bloodiest battle in Ukraine.
“The ‘Mariupol’ garrison has fulfilled its combat mission,” the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces said in a statement. “The supreme military command ordered the commanders of the units stationed at Azovstal to save the lives of the personnel … Defenders of Mariupol are the heroes of our time,” it added.
Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Anna Malyar said 53 injured troops from the steel plant were taken to a hospital in the Russian-controlled town of Novoazovsk, some 32 km to the east, while another 211 people were taken to the town of Olenivka, in an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
She added that all of the evacuees would be subject to a possible prisoner exchange with Russia.
Putin Gets Personally Involved In The War
Meanwhile, fierce fighting and shelling continue across Ukraine’s east. According to Ukraine’s General Staff, Russian forces are reinforcing and preparing to renew their offensive near Slovyansk and Drobysheve, southeast of the strategic town of Izyum.
Also, reports citing unnamed Western military sources claimed that President Putin and General Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, have begun micro-managing the war in minute detail.
These western military sources describe Putin’s role as that of a Brigadier or a General, stating, “’If Putin is doing the job of a brigade commander’ then ‘he could be delving into a force that could be as small as 700 to 1,000 soldiers.”