Ukraine’s Deployed Devastating Thermobaric Munitions In FPV Drones And Wipes Out Russian Target

A serviceman of Separate 14th Regiment of Armed Forces of Ukraine holds an FPV strike drone on the front line on October 26, 2023 in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine. New footage appears to show a Ukrainian first-person-view (FPV) kamikaze drone attacking a Russian-held building using thermobaric munitions.

New footage appears to show a Ukrainian first-person-view (FPV) kamikaze drone attacking a Russian-held building using thermobaric munitions, with Kyiv looking around for new ways to keep up strikes as shell hunger bites.

The footage, widely circulated online and attributed to Ukraine’s 28th Mechanized Brigade, appears to show a Ukrainian-operated explosive drone barrel into a single-storey building through a window, before an explosion rips through the structure.

A longer version of the clip, posted by the 28th Mechanized Brigade, looks to show footage from the FPV drone heading for the structure, before cutting to the feed from another airborne drone.

Thermobaric weapons have been used throughout the war, creating more destructive explosions than those produced by conventional weapons through two detonations.

FPV drones are a cornerstone of Ukraine’s drone effort and the race to develop uncrewed vehicles faster, better, and in higher numbers than Russia. They can be used to record dramatic battlefield footage where the drone travels towards Russian vehicles before exploding, or deployed as reconnaissance tools to guide artillery strikes.

“It is difficult to compile numbers, but we are seeing more and more thermobaric FPV strikes” as Ukraine manufactures them en masse, military and weapons expert David Hambling told Newsweek.

“Ukraine may use precise drones with massive blast effects to offset their shortage of artillery when assaulting Russian defensive positions,” Hambling said.

Artillery, and the ammunition to keep the systems firing, has been a key part of the land war raging for more than 25 months in eastern and southern Ukraine.

Ukrainian officials and Western analysts have said Ukraine’s operations have been restrained by shell famine as Russian forces inch westward. Kyiv’s fighters are thought to be firing around a fifth of the ammunition Russia’s troops are able to use up.

Ukraine is turning to new tactics, like using thermobaric warheads on drones, to try to bridge the gap, Hambling said.

Thermobaric warheads are “the munition of choice for attacking troops in bunkers, trenches and buildings,” he added. Russia, however, does not seem to have debuted thermobaric drone warheads, Hambling said.

Russia has, however, used the TOS-1A “Solntsepek” against Ukrainian forces, a system it describes as a “heavy flamethrower.” Russia’s Defense Ministry said the TOS-1A was a “formidable weapon” for its troops against Ukrainian forces.

“The impact of the TOS-1A is devastating,” the British Defense Ministry said in March 2022. “It can destroy infrastructure, and cause significant damage to internal organs and flash burns, resulting in death to those exposed.”

Thermobaric weapons, also known as vacuum bombs, were used by Soviet forces in Afghanistan and Chechnya, as well as by the U.S. military in the 1960s.

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