The TOS-1A Solntsepek MBRL system entered service in 2001. Image courtesy of Goodvint.
The launch system has 24 220mm barrels and can fire two missiles within 0.5 seconds. Image courtesy of Vitaly V. Kuzmin.
The chassis of the launch vehicle is similar to that of the T-72 main battle tank.

The TOS-1A Solntsepek, a multi-barrel rocket launch (MBRL) system designed and developed by Omsk Transmash Design Bureau, is the latest variant of the TOS-1 flamethrower system.

The TOS-1A was commissioned into service by the Russian Army in 2001. It offers direct fire support to complement main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles on the battlefield.

The MBRL system was exported to Algeria, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria. Azerbaijan received its first batch of six MBRL systems in 2014, followed by six more units in 2015.

The radiation, chemical and biological protection (RChBP) troops of Russia signed a contract to receive up to 20 TOS-1A Solntsepek rocket launchers in December 2017.

TOS-1A rocket launch system design and development

The chassis of TOS-1A MBRL system is based on the T-72 main battle tank. It retains the same design with the turret being replaced with the rocket launch facility. The hull of the vehicle is made of reinforced steel. The total weight of the launch vehicle is 46,500kg.

“The radiation, chemical and biological protection (RChBP) troops of Russia signed a contract to receive up to 20 TOS-1A Solntsepek rocket launchers in December 2017.”

The rocket launcher has the capability to carry three personnel, with the driver stationed in the middle and the commander and gunner accommodated within the two small turrets at the rear.

The MBRL system offers lower firing range compared to other multiple rocket launch systems. It, however, offers much versatility to the operators due to its thermobaric and multiple launch capabilities.

The TOS-1A platform carries an ammunition load of 24 rockets, while the TZM-T re-loader vehicle holds 48 rockets.

Armament and self-protection

The launch system of TOS-1A integrates 24 launch tubes. The 220mm calibre tubes used in the system are longer and lighter than that of the earlier version. The launch system is positioned exactly at the centre of the armoured chassis. It has the ability to rotate 360° without interruption in firing.

The launch system is complemented by an advanced fire control system comprising a ballistic data computer, equipment used for observation for the commander and a rangefinder, and a control panel. The fire control system enhances the target acquisition and detection capability.

The fully automatic launch control system enables the launch of unguided missiles. Each rocket is equipped with a detonating fuse, special thermobaric explosives and a solid-fuelled thrust engine.

The system has the capability to launch multiple rockets within half a second. The rockets can engage targets within the range between 400m and 6,000m.

The MBRL system offers protection against small arms fire and shell splinters. Either side of the hull is installed with Type 902G smoke grenade launchers. The engine smoke generation system can further make the launch vehicle invisible to enemies.

Engine and mobility of TOS-1A

The vehicle is powered by a V-84-1 engine with a rated power output of 840hp at 2,000rpm. The components of the TOS-1A rocket launcher system are similar to those of BM-1 Combat vehicle, while the chassis is based on the T-72 battle tank.

Either side of the running gear includes six road wheels. The upper section of the suspension is covered by rubber plates.

The vehicle has a maximum speed of 60km/h and can travel up to 550km.

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