TOS-1 (Russian: тяжёлая огнемётная система [ТОС-1], Heavy Flamethrower System) is a Soviet 220 mm 30-barrel (original system, Ob.634 or TOS-1M) or 24-barrel (Ob.634B or TOS-1A) multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon mounted on a T-72 tank chassis. TOS-1 was designed to killing people in fortified positions, open country and in lightly armoured vehicles and transport. First combat tests took place in 1988–1989 in the Panjshir Valley during the Soviet–Afghan War. The TOS-1 was shown for the first time in public in 1999 in Omsk.
TOS-1 Buratino/TOS-1A Solntsepyok
|Type||Multiple rocket launcher|
|Place of origin||Soviet Union|
|Used by||Soviet Union (historically), Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia|
Second Chechen War
Iraqi Civil War (2014–2017)
Syrian Civil War
War in Donbass
2020 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
|Designer||Omsk Transmash Design Bureau|
|Mass||45.3 t (100,000 lb)|
|Length||9.5 m (31 ft 2 in)|
|Width||3.6 m (11 ft 10 in)|
|Height||2.22 m (7 ft 3 in)|
|Caliber||220 mm (8.7 in)|
|Rate of fire||30 rounds/15 s|
|Effective firing range||500–3,500 m (TOS-1)|
6,000 m (TOS-1A)
840 hp (630 kW)
|550 km (340 mi)|
|Maximum speed||60 km/h (37 mph)|
TOS-1 is not assigned to the artillery units of the Russian Armed Forces but is found in Russian NBC Protection Troops (Russian: Войскa радиационной, химической и биологической защиты (Войска РХБ защиты)). That is why it does not have a GRAU index but rather an RKhBZ index—МO.1.01.00.
The idea of a heavy short-range MLRS to launch rockets equipped with incendiary and thermobaric warheads arose in the late 1970s. The combat system consisting of the combat vehicle, rockets, and loading vehicle was developed in early 1980s at KBTM in Omsk and was named TOS-1, remaining a secret development for a long time.
The TOS-1 is intended to engage military personnel, equipment, and buildings, including fortified constructions. The combat vehicle acts within the combat order of infantry and tanks. The large mass of the launcher and the need for a high-level of protection [due to the relatively short range of 3,500 m (11,500 ft)] helped determine the use of the chassis of the T-72 main battle tank. The TZM reloading vehicle was built on the chassis of a KrAZ-255B cross-country truck and equipped with a crane for loading/unloading of the launcher.
In 2003, the improved TOS-1A system entered service with the range extended to 6 kilometers and a better ballistic computer. The nickname "Buratino" originates with the name of the hero of a Russian retelling of the Pinocchio tale (by Alexey Tolstoy), given the perception of the big "nose" of the launcher.
In March 2020, Russia introduced a new rocket for the TOS-1A with a range of 10 km, achieved in part by weight and size reductions of a new fuel air explosive mixture in the warhead, while also increasing its power. Minimum range is extended from 400 m to 1.6 km, so the shorter-range M0.1.01.04M rocket will be retained for close combat environments. In 2018, Russian NBC Protection Troops received 30 TOS-1A Solntsepyok (Sunburn) 220 mm multiple rocket launchers.
Saudi Arabian Military Industries signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Rosoboronexport for the local production of the TOS-1A. The new TOS-2 system was first used during the Kavkaz-2020 drills in September 2020. It is based on an Ural all-terrain vehicle. It is also equipped with a more powerful TBS-M3 rocket and its own crane and it has an increased range. It is protected from precision weapons.
TOS-1s were first used in combat in Afghanistan's Panjshir valley by the Soviet Union during the Soviet–Afghan War. Later, they were used during the Second Chechen War, prominently by the Russian Army during the Battle of Grozny in 1999.
TOS-1As were first used in combat in Iraq by the Iraqi Army in the recapture of Jurf Al Sakhar on October 24, 2014 from ISIL forces. The Iraqi Army launched at least three TOS-1 rockets on 18 June 2017 during the first day of an offensive to recapture the Old City of Mosul, Iraq, from the Islamic State, targeting school buildings held by Islamic State forces and known to be devoid of civilians.
The TOS-1 was used in Syria on October 10, 2015 by Syrian Army forces against rebel forces in Hama. In 2016 it was used against rebel forces in the Latakia mountains. It was used again by the Syrian Army in April 2017 in the area of Palmyra, and later in the same month to destroy an ISIS camp. In November 2018, the system was deployed by the SAA against ISIS in Al-Safa region.
- The "combat vehicle" BM-1 (Russian: боевая машина) (Ob.634B) based on a modified T-72A chassis and fitted with a rotating launch system for 24 unguided thermobaric rockets. All rockets can be launched within 6 to 12 seconds. The launch vehicle is equipped with a fire control system with a ballistic computer, aiming sight and 1D14 laser range finder. The other standard equipment consists of a TKN-3A sight for the commander, a GPK-59 navigation system, an R-163-50U radio station, an R-174 intercom and a 902G smoke grenade launcher with four barrels. The 3-man crew is armed with one AKS-74, one RPKS-74, three RPG-26s, and 10 F-1 hand grenades. The BM-1 is fitted with the same equipment as the T-72 tank (NBC protection, fire-fighting, observation etc.).
- Two TZM-T (Russian: транспортно-заряжающая машина) (Ob.563) re-supply vehicles, fitted with a 10 kN crane. Each vehicle carries 2x12 spare rockets and 400 litres of fuel for the BM-1 and has a combat weigh of 39 t (86,000 lb). The TZM-T has a crew of three, armed with two AKS-74s, one RPKS-74, five RPG-26s, and 10 F-1 hand grenades.
- A set of rockets NURS (Russian: неуправляемый реактивный снаряд) MO.1.01.04 and MO.1.01.04M. These are 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in) and 3.7 m (12 ft 2 in) long and weigh 173 kg (381 lb) and 217 kg (478 lb) respectively. The original rocket for the TOS-1A had a range of only 2,700 m (8,900 ft), but the improved version extends the range to 6,000 m (20,000 ft). Some sources say its range is 12 km. The system was modernized in 2016. Modernized systems with active protection, new engine and launchers and other improvements were delivered in early 2018.
- Algeria – 52
- Azerbaijan – 36
- Armenia – Part of Russian–Armenian arms deal
- Iraq – 12
- Kazakhstan – 3
- Russia – ~45 + TOS-1A and a number of TOS-2
- Saudi Arabia: Used by the Royal Saudi Land Forces. A license to produce TOS-1A was granted to Saudi Arabia in 2017.
- Syria – 8+
- Soviet Union – Passed on to successor states.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to TOS-1.|
- Video of the TOS-1 in action (in Russian)
- GlobalSecurity profile
- FAS profile
- TOS-1A article on Military Today
- TOS-1 article on Military Today
- Detailed article on Rbase (in Russian)
- V. Kuzmin's photo blog about the 2010 Victory Parade in Moscow (in Russian)
- Russia's TOS-1: Moscow's Most Powerful Weapon of War (That Isn't Nuclear) - National Interest