When the Soviets were thinking about landwar in the late 1970s, they struck upon idea: How about strapping as many rockets as possible to a T-72 tank chassis, and using it on the battlefield? Thus, the TOS-1 Heavy Flamethrower System was conceived. If you’re confused by the “flamethrower” bit in that designation, it’s understandable. The TOS-1 (and its more modern variant, the TOS-1A) look nothing like traditional flamethrowers, either handheld or tank-mounted, used in World War II and other conflicts.

Instead, the TOS-1 is designated a flamethrower because, in addition to traditional incendiary rockets, it can also fire thermobaric rockets.Thermobaric rockets are a “fuel-air” weapon system. When fired, the rockets disperse a cloud of flammable liquid into the air around the target, and then ignite it. The results are devastating—not only is the explosion significantly longer and the shockwave significantly hotter and stronger than a conventional warhead, but all the oxygen in the near vicinity is also consumed, creating a partial vacuum. FULL REPORT