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Metal Cage Did Not Save This TOS-1A Solntsepyok From Destruction by Ukrainian FPV Drone (Video)

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Illustrative photo: TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower system / Archive photo from russian open sources
Illustrative photo: TOS-1A Solntsepyok heavy flamethrower system / Archive photo from russian open sources

Despite the improvements, russian heavy flamethrower systems still remain rare but vulnerable targets

Ukrainian Defense Forces have destroyed another piece of valuable russian military equipment, the TOS-1A Solntsepyok thermobaric rocket launcher. Video showing the destruction of this system by an explosive FPV drone.

The heavy flamethrower was destroyed by the soldiers of the 92nd Mechanized Brigade, more specifically by a drone operator from the Achilles Attack Drone Company.

Read more: TOS-1A Flamethrower of russian Forces Comes Too Close to Frontline and Gets Destroyed by FPV Drone

As we can see in the footage, the first-person-view drone armed with explosives was piloted right into the launcher of the TOS-1A system which was covered with slat armor – colloquially called "grill" intended to protect the equipment from drone and missile attacks from above.

The UAV hovering above the site filmed how the ammunition inside the launcher started cooking off due to the strike. As reported, the vehicle was fully loaded (24 rockets), and the crew of three russians was destroyed as well.

TOS-1A Solntsepyok with slat armor protection, April 2023
TOS-1A Solntsepyok with slat armor protection, April 2023 / Photo credit: Rob Lee on X (formerly Twitter)

For the first time, TOS-1A systems "upgraded" with metal cages were spotted around April 2023. Despite this cage being unable to fully cover the bulky vehicle, Defense Express assumed it was a smart choice because a rocket launcher with a firing range of only 6 km would be a likely target of attack by copter UAVs carrying droppable grenades or suicide drones. And this kind of protection was relatively helpful at times.

Sometimes metal cages are effective
Sometimes metal cages are effective. This russian T-55 managed to avoid the damage from a grenade dropped by a drone, nonetheless got destroyed by an anti-tank weapon. Summer 2023 / Photo credit: NMFTE on Telegram

The practice, though, shows that the slat armor was completely ineffective on the rocket launcher, at least this time around.

According to the Oryx community, this is the eighth TOS-1A flamethrower system russians have lost in Ukraine since the start of their full-scale invasion of Ukrainian territories in February 2022. Out of them, four were completely destroyed and three more captured, plus one damaged.

Read more: ​​The russians Use A-22 Naval MLRS Mounted on MT-LB Vehicle in the Kherson Region