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German newspaper reveals russian use of TOS-3 flamethrower in Ukraine.

| Ukraine - Russia conflict

The Russian army has begun using the new TOS-3 Dragon flamethrower system (sometimes called TOS-1A), which turns entire districts into ruins, reports the German newspaper Die Welt. According to it, the upgraded system can hit enemy targets from a greater distance, up to 15 kilometers, and has enormous destructive power.
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TOS platform during military parade in Russia  (Picture source: Donat Sorokin/TASS)

The publication notes that the Dragon's ability to strike from a greater distance greatly affects the effectiveness of enemy FPV drones and increases the survival capability of the combat vehicle. Its invulnerability to such drones is considered a distinctive feature of the TOS-1 "Solntsepek" and TOS-2 "Tosochka". At the same time, German journalists emphasized that the TOS-3 had been designed as a revolutionary weapon. Describing the capabilities of the new Russian weapon, the publication calls it "terrifying".

The prototype of the TOS-3 flamethrower system first appeared and impressed the Germans with the fact that each of its launchers could fire missiles with thermobaric warheads of great destructive power. According to the German daily, even bunkers cannot withstand the "Dragon", and a single salvo can turn several buildings into ruins.

The TOS-3 Dragon uses thermobaric rockets. Thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs or fuel-air explosives, are a type of ammunition designed to maximize damage caused by air pressure and heat during an explosion. They work by dispersing a cloud of aerosol made of very fine chemical fuel particles which, once ignited, triggers a massive explosion. This explosion consumes the surrounding oxygen and produces a shockwave of very high temperature and pressure, capable of destroying enclosed structures and causing extreme damage to living tissue primarily through blast effect and asphyxiation. Compared to conventional explosives, thermobaric weapons release their energy over a longer period and are thus particularly destructive in confined environments.

However, the main issue is the firing distance; although the 10-15 km range of the TOS-3 is superior to its predecessors, the TOS-1 and TOS-2, this short firing distance still leaves it vulnerable to counter-battery fire from Ukrainians and even some strikes from FPV drones.

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