The war in Ukraine has provided researchers and analysts with numerous data points to understand the nature of 21st-century warfare.
Is the era of the tank over? Will drones dominate the battlefield?
One thing is clear: social media will give us all the information we need to decide.
Watch Thermobaric Grenade Destroy Russian Infantry Fighting Vehicle
In the clip from March, which was recorded by a rotary blade unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a Russian BMP-1 is left destroyed after the drone operator dropped a thermobaric grenade into the open hatch.
After the grenade is dropped, the drone takes slightly too long to fly away, causing it to spiral in the air.
The grenade initially does not look as though it landed perfectly inside of the vehicle, but the subsequent explosion proves that it did.
The clip was shared on Twitter by Ukraine Weapons Tracker, a war-tracking Twitter account that noted the grenade used was an RGT-27S2 thermobaric munition.
Thermobaric weapons dropped directly inside of a tank through a hatch can cause great damage to the vehicle by nature of the fact that the powerful blast occurs in such a confined space.
The explosion can rupture the tank’s armor, kill any remaining crew inside – though, more often than not, the crew has already abandoned the vehicle by the time it’s hit – and even set off a chain reaction that ignites the ammunition stored inside the tank.
While attacks like this typically occur long after the vehicles have been abandoned, any troops close to the vehicle at the time of impact are at risk of injury or death. Shrapnel from the tank itself turns into dangerous projectiles, making these improvised attack drones a surprisingly powerful weapon.
What Is the RGT-27S2?
The RGT-27S2 thermobaric grenade is a munition designed to produce a high-pressure, high-heat explosion that can cause significant damage to even armored vehicles and tanks.
The grenade contains a mixture of fuel and oxidizer that, when ignited, produces a powerful blast wave and intense heat that can destroy buildings and injure or kill people within its blast radius.
The RGT-27S2 is a variant of the RGT-27 thermobaric grenade. The ammunition was first introduced to the public in 2017 during a demonstration of new weaponry at a training facility in the Chernihiv region of Ukraine. By 2020, they were adopted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine for use in the field.
Unlike traditional explosives and munitions, thermobaric weapons are particularly effective in enclosed spaces, making it an ideal choice for destroying tanks from the inside.
It is a tactic deployed by the Ukrainian military frequently throughout the war and requires only a commercial-grade drone, a drone operator who knows how to jerry-rig the equipment to carry weapons, and a Russian tank or armored vehicle with an open hatch.
Another damaged and abandoned Russian BMP-2 can also be seen nearby. pic.twitter.com/4EJzIBcVYn
— ???????? Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 13, 2023
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.