The Russian Solntsepek heavy flamethrower system, known for the Russian initials as TOS ('tyazhelaya ognemyotnaya systema') is considered to be one of the most powerful systems of the type in the world. The United States considers an opportunity to ban the use of this system and recognise it as a weapon of mass destruction.
The Russian Armed Forces use Solntsepek and Tosochka heavy flamethrower systems in the zone of the special military operation.
The Solntsepek system is based on the T-90 tank. This flamethrower system uses thermobaric ammunition with a relatively short range of up to seven kilometres.
Due to its short firing range, the Solntsepek is supposed to approach the front line close, which makes it vulnerable to enemy attack.
To avoid this, the system is supposed to approach a target under the protection of tanks or other supporting vehicles. This may let the enemy know that the attack will be coming soon. Therefore, TOS systems usually act alone, attack and leave.
Not too long ago, the Russian forces started using the state-of-the-art TOS-2 Tosochka flamethrower system. The Russian army has three types of heavy flamethrower systems — TOS-1 Buratino, TOS-1A Solntsepek and the new TOS-2 Tosochka system. These systems are attributed to the Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces. The systems are designed to support infantry, tanks, firing positions, as well as to annihilate lightly armoured equipment and enemy vehicles.
The TOS-2 is a second-to-none complex. This is a profoundly modernised Solntsepek system mounted on the chassis of the all-terrain Ural armoured vehicle. The wheelbase made it possible to significantly enhance the mobility of the flamethrower system.
The TOS-2 has 18 guide tubes. It weighs 20 tons, whereas the Solntsepek weighs over 40 tons. The TOS-2 does not need any transport loaders as it has a manipulator crane. The system has electronic protection against high-precision weapons. Its fire control system is fully automated.
Eighteen thermobaric missiles of the system can scorch out everything over an area of six hectares. The ammo range was increased up to ten kilometres.
The Solntsepek heavy flamethrower system with its 24 rockets could affect an area of four hectares, whereas Tosochka's 18 rockets affect an area of six hectares.
Heavy flamethrower systems use thermobaric ammunition. The rocket warhead contains two separate substances — a flammable mixture and a fuse. When the rocket hits a target, the flammable mixture explodes as an aerosol cloud. The mixture penetrates literally into everything. The explosion also creates a massive cloud of fire with excess pressure over a large area. The thermobaric explosion burns all oxygen in the affected environment literally within seconds.
Two ballistic missiles attacked the US Navy destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87) from the territory of Yemen. The destroyer came to the aid of the hijacked Central Park tanker of Zodiac Maritime