In late March, a battalion of Moscow’s Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Defense Troops stormed a simulated enemy position in eastern Russia — armed with upgraded shoulder-fired and vehicle-launched thermobaric weapons. In a video from news agency RIA Novosti, shown above, the launchers are seen hurling 24 220-millimeter unguided thermobaric rockets at a time.
Just before reaching their targets, the rockets released a mixture of combustible gas. Within seconds, the gas is ignited, and “all living things within 300 square meters are destroyed by high pressure and temperature,” RIA Novosti observed.
According to the agency, this is the first time the vehicle-mounted launchers have been used in a military exercise. But the launcher itself isn’t entirely new — it’s more of an upgrade. The agency mistakenly refers to the weapon as a TOS-1 Buratino (or “Pinocchio“). But the Pinocchio has been in service for years, and was used in the 1999-2000 Chechen War to help level Grozny. The Pinocchio also has 30 rocket pods, where the vehicles seen laying waste to parts of eastern Russia (above) appear to have only 24 pods.
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