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​First Prototype of TOS-3 Dragon Flamethrower was Produced, russians Say

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Illustrative photo: TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower system / Open-source illustrative photo
Illustrative photo: TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower system / Open-source illustrative photo

This self-propelled heavy thermobaric weapon will use a new type of ammunition and have a greater range of fire, but for not it's just an experimental model

Military industry of the russian federation has created the first experimental TOS-3 Drakon (rus. for "Dragon") thermobaric rocket launcher, or heavy flamethrower system as called domestically. The announcement comes from Bekkhan Ozdoev, Industrial Director of the Cluster of conventional weapons, ammunition and special chemistry at Rostec corporation.

"The developed vehicle on a tracked base will be equipped with a new launcher. It will increase the range of fire, [enable the] use of new ammunition," he noted, speaking of the new TOS-3. For a reminder, the range of TOS-1A Solntsepyok is 6–10 km, according to various sources, and the TOS-2 Tosochka is said to fire at distances 16 to 25 km. However, this parameter for the TOS-3 Drakon remains unknown.

Read more: ​russia Wants to Create the Dragon Flamethrower Tank Based on TOS-1, TOS-2
Concept image of the TOS-3 Drakon / Defense Express / First Prototype of TOS-3 Dragon Flamethrower was Produced, russians Say
Concept image of the TOS-3 Drakon combines the tank chassis of the TOS-1A with the launcher from TOS-2 / Image source: russian media

No other details about the product were announced. But Defense Express reminds that in early February 2024, the Omsktransmash machinery plant patented the development of the TOS-3 Drakon.

As followed from the limited information the patent description provided, the new rocket system was supposed to solve the problems discovered during the combat deployment of the previous generation on the battlefield, specifically the TOS-1A Solntsepyok and the TOS-2 Tosochka.

While both existing heavy flamethrower systems remain dangerous weapons, at the same time, the limited range of TOS-1A constantly puts it at risk of being destroyed by Ukrainian FPV drones which has been happening quite a lot recently. It also usually takes one accurate hit onto a vehicle loaded with ammunition to guarantee a kill.

The losses prompted russian weapon makers to patent a "special" protection kit for the TOS-1A Solntsepyok, allegedly shielding the vulnerable and bulky launcher from ATGMs and FPV drones, although in essence, it's the same solution that is already installed on T-90 tanks on a regular basis.

A typical ant-drone solution for protecting the TOS-1A / Defense Express / First Prototype of TOS-3 Dragon Flamethrower was Produced, russians Say
A typical ant-drone solution for protecting the TOS-1A: slat armor applied to the launcher and an EW jammer to complement it. This one was reportedly deployed in a warzone in Ukraine / Photo source: russian Ministry of Defense

As for the TOS-2 Tosochka, this rocket launcher was spotted on the Ukrainian battlefield for the first time this year, and while its wheeled chassis provides significant mobility on paved roads, the russian troops seem to prefer the good old all-terrain tank chassis for their new TOS-3.

TOS-2 Tosochka / Defense Express / First Prototype of TOS-3 Dragon Flamethrower was Produced, russians Say
TOS-2 Tosochka / Open-source illustrative photo
Read more: FPV Drones Break Apart the Very Concept of TOS-1 Application on the Battlefield, Ukraine's Example Shows (Video)