Experts say VLADIMIR Putin could use one of the most destructive weapons in the world in his full-scale attack on Ukraine.
Russia’s fearsome arsenal of thermobaric weapons fires a barrage of nuclear explosive warheads so powerful they can melt down an enemy army.
TOS-1 Pinocchio and TOS-1A Solntsepek are among the deadliest weapons on the modern battlefield, with the exception of nuclear warheads.
Sources in Ukraine shared a video of a TOS convoy heading towards the border.
The bizarre tanks have a huge oblong rack at the top, loaded with dozens of deadly incendiary or thermobaric rockets.
Sharing screenshots from a video of a military convoy on TikTok, King’s College London graduate student in military studies Rob Lee wrote: “Thermobaric troops on the move.”
The convoys were seen passing through the Russian city of Belgorod, about 40 kilometers north of the border with Ukraine.
Originally designed as a long-range alternative to the handheld flamethrower, the TOS-1 and TOS-1A are designed to destroy or crush any soft target in their path.
“Pinocchio” – the Russian analogue of “Pinocchio” – is unique for the Russian armed forces; a self-propelled multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) already deployed by Moscow generals in conflicts including Afghanistan, Chechnya, Iraq and Syria.
Like the huge 2S4 240mm self-propelled mortar, the TOS-1 is designed to destroy heavily fortified positions.
Some of its destructive power was demonstrated during the Second Chechen War between 1999 and 2000, when the capital of the breakaway Russian province of Grozny was razed to the ground.
In one case, a TOS-1 strike killed 37 civilians and injured more than 200 when a city block was razed to the ground.
TOS means “heavy flamethrower” in Russian, but in reality, TOS-1 launches a rocket with a fuel-air explosive (TVV), dubbed the “napalm wall”.
FAEs were first used by the United States during the Vietnam War when generals declared that napalm was not destructive enough.
While napalm weapons spread a sticky, burning liquid over a large area, FAEs cause the air itself to detonate.
A small explosive inside an FAE munition spreads a chemical cloud through the air like a deadly deodorant.
Pinocchio and Sunshine are very useful weapons for military forces that can engage in urban combat without regard for collateral damage.
This gas cloud can seep everywhere, into buildings and trenches, before the secondary explosive then ignites the cloud, causing a massive sustained explosion.
The fire blast can kill and maim in truly terrifying ways, rendering body armor or hard cover useless.
The TOC-1 blast is twice as powerful as most normal bomb blasts, and victims within the blast radius are instantly crushed to death.
Sebastian Roblin, military expert, writes for www.19fortyfive.comsaid: “The TOS-1 missile salvo will destroy everything in the blast zone of 200 by 300 meters.”
Away from the blast zone, pressure can break bones, dislocate eyes, cause internal bleeding, and rupture eardrums, intestines, and other internal organs.
They can also suck oxygen from the lungs, causing them to collapse, suffocating their victims to death.
As in Vietnam, the US later stationed the FAE in the Tora Bora mountains in eastern Afghanistan when they were trying to track Osama bin Laden in a network of caves.
The outstanding TOS-1 launcher, which looks like a long nose, has earned the nickname “Pinocchio”.
They were seen at a rebel training ground in Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, as early as 2015, and the Ukrainian government claims they were used in the aerial bombardment of Donetsk International Airport in January of that year.
TOS-1A “Solntsepek” (“Sunshine”) is an upgrade of TOS-1, designed to use longer-range missiles that can hit targets at a distance of up to 6 km.
It also has more armor on the launcher.
Defense and national security commentator Charlie Gao said, “Pinocchio and Sunflare are very useful weapons for the military, who can go into urban combat with no regard for collateral damage.”
This comes after U.S. military sources warned Ukraine that Russia would likely launch a full-scale invasion within the next 48 hours.
About 10,000 Russian “peacekeeping” forces are already in Ukraine, and Vladimir Putin claims they are there to protect two pro-Russian breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
On Monday, Putin recognized the independence of the two regions, which first seceded in 2015, in what many see as a justification for invading Ukraine.
Over the weekend, new footage shows more than 200 Russian tanks and rocket launchers approaching the Ukrainian border, as explosions ring out in rebel-held territory.