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Russian TOS-1A flamethrower rocket launcher one of the most popular export weapon system

The TOS-1A 220 mm rocket launcher flamethrower has shored up its positions in Top 5 most popular export-oriented weapons produced by the Russian defense industry, according to Director General of Russian State Company for defense products Rosoboronexport (a subsidiary of state corporation Rostec) Alexander Mikheev.
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BM-1 combat vehicle of TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system. (Picture source Vitaly Kuzmin)

“The TOS-1A 220mm flamethrower rocket launcher permanently holds a rank in Rosoboronexport’s Top 5 defense products supplied to the land forces of the company’s foreign customers,” said Mikheev on July 27.

The Russian defense industry continues developing new self-propelled rocket launchers armed with incendiary rockets. During the Victory Day parade held on June 24 in Moscow, the military showcased the TOS-2 Tosochka wheeled rocket launcher. Deputy Director General of JSC NPK Tecmash Alexander Kochkin told the Zvezda TV channel that this weapon system had received more automated subsystems. According to him, the Tosochka combat vehicle needs no loaders as it features its own integral mechanism for self-loading. The weapon system is now passing through its preliminary trials, said Kochkin.

The TOS-1A self-propelled heavy flamethrower is designed to support manpower and tanks, to engage enemy personnel in direct or indirect firing mode in various types of offensive and defensive actions, and to eliminate light armored vehicles and transport means. The combined destruction of targets is done through the medium of high temperature and an increased pressure.

The TOS-1A system incorporates the tank-based BM-1 combat vehicle with launching unit (1 item) and the tank-based TZM-T transport-loader (2 items). The system can be supplied with the TZM (563-K) transport-loader vehicle that is based on a cross-country 8×8 wheeled truck. The system fires incendiary rockets.

Russian TOS 1A flamethrower rocket launchers one of the most popular export weapon system 925 002
TZM-T transporter-loader of TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system. (Picture Source Vitaly Kuzmin)

The export-oriented BM-1 combat vehicle weighs 44.3 t, the TZM-T transport-loader — 39.0 t (with an ammunition load), and the TZM (563-K) transport loader — 23.4 t. The BM-1 and TZM-T vehicles are based on the chassis of the T-72A tank, while the TZM-K transport-loader is mounted on a KAMAZ-63501 truck. The BM-1 is armed with 24 launching tubes; the TZM-T and TZM (563-K) transport-loaders carry 24 rockets. The BM-1 combat vehicle has a minimum firing range of 400-600 m, a maximum firing range of 6,000 m, a combat readiness time of 90 seconds, and a full salvo time of six to 12 seconds.

The TOS-family vehicles are often called ‘multiple rocket launchers’; however, in fact, they are self-propelled rocket launchers that fire unique incendiary munitions in both indirect and direct modes. The baseline TOS-1A system is mounted on either T-72 or T-90S chassis: therefore, it can be easily maintained, repaired, and overhauled by the countries operating the aforementioned tanks.

The BM-1 combat vehicle is a tank-based launcher. It is fitted with a fire control system that incorporates a periscopic laser sighting system-rangefinder, a digital specialized computing assembly with sensor equipment, electro-hydraulic actuators, and a fire support system. The BM-1 combat vehicle also carries auxiliary systems and pieces of equipment (communication systems, observation devices, a nuclear/biological/chemical protection system, a fire extinguishing system, self-digging equipment, etc.).

The TZM-T/TZM (563-K) transport-loader features racks for unguided rockets, a loader crane with a hydraulic actuator, an applique armor kit to protect the ammunition stowage, and hardware for the loading mechanism.

The Russian Ministry of Defense officially names the TOS-1A “the most maneuverable, protected, and powerful flame-throwing system in the world”.

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