The war in Ukraine has shown just how dangerous thermobaric rockets – or what many call vacuum bombs – can be in modern warfare.
Many experts think these weapons should be banned from all warfare forever, yet, Putin keeps using them with devastating impact – breaking international law.
The good news is Kyiv keeps working hard to ensure they are destroyed as soon as they are identified – as the below social media posting shows.
See Russian Thermobaric Rocket Launcher Destroyed In Combat
The video shows a thermobaric multiple rocket launcher stationed in the corner of a rural field where two roads connect. After it was struck by Ukrainian counter-battery fire, it erupted into huge plumes of white smoke, with ammunition from the launcher igniting and creating further blasts. The explosion resembles fireworks, owing to the nature of thermobaric ammunition.
The clip was reposted to Twitter by popular war-tracking Twitter account Ukraine Weapons Tracker.
“As reported, a Russian TOS-1A thermobaric multiple rocket launcher was destroyed by Ukrainian counter-battery fire in #Zaporizhzhia utilizing M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers,” the account notes.
Russia’s Solntsepek is its best-known thermobaric weapon. The weapon, which translates as the “Blazing Sun,” was described by a Russian colonel as a “formidable weapon” that has “no equal in the arsenals of the collective West.”
What Is A Thermobaric Rocket Launcher?
A thermobaric weapon, also known as a “vacuum bomb,” is a kind of explosive that uses oxygen in its surrounding environment to create a larger or hotter explosion. These weapons use a vacuum to pull in oxygen from the air around it, mixing it with fuel to create a single large blast, or to create multiple flaming munitions that can fall from the air.
Thermobaric weapons are made up almost entirely of fuel, meaning they are able to create more intense explosions than normal weapons.
Russia has deployed thermobaric weapons in Ukraine on many occasions, despite the fact that the weapons are considered illegal by the international community. Prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, thermobaric weapons often cause widespread fires on the ground after they are used.
Once the missiles or munitions reach their intended target, they initiate a cloud of fuel which is later ignited in a secondary explosion. The explosion creates a huge fireball.
While most major militaries have thermobaric weapons in their arsenals, including the United States, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom, they are typically not used in combat.
Russia broke that convention during the Ukraine invasion and has been accused of using them in previous conflicts, too.
#Ukraine: As reported, a Russian TOS-1A thermobaric multiple rocket launcher was destroyed by Ukrainian counter-battery fire in #Zaporizhzhia utilizing M109A6 Paladin 155mm self-propelled howitzers. pic.twitter.com/477BAf3xQa
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) June 9, 2023
Please see the video here if it does not autoload above.
Jack Buckby is 19FortyFive’s Breaking News Editor. He is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.