A number of news outlets have reported that the russian army is deploying thermobaric weapons also known as vacuum bombs in ukraine this weapon works by sucking in oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high temperature explosion this works in two stages the first stage charge distributes an aerosol made up of very fine material the first such weapon used coal dust.

But today it's more likely to be a carbon-based fuel of course it could be some other flammable material the second charge ignites that cloud creating a fireball and a shock wave which is much greater than that of conventional explosives the application would normally be in a bunker busting situation of course there are no bunkers of the type we see dotted around the countryside from world war ii in ukraine.

 but the equivalent would be Buildings including residential blocks where resistance is met the preferred way of dealing with bunkers during the second world war was with flame flowers and this is a modern version of that weapon the original flame flower was very cumbersome heavy and it was a danger to the user the russians have a delivery system on the tos one multiple-barreled rocket.

Launcher which has been in service since 1988 the inventor of this weapon was mario zipper maya around 1942 he set up a research institute with around 35 staff in two branches one of which was in vienna and the other one was near salzburg his creation was the l48 torpedo which could be dropped from any height and any speed up to 700 kilometers an hour the application that he foresaw was Anti-aircraft the device contained coal dust which was distributed over a large area in the surrounding air near the targets via the first explosive charge which was set off at a preset altitude the dispersed coal dust was then blown up with a second charge the first test was carried out with a 60 kilogram thermobaric device in 1943 at the dubai its military training area near berlin and at lake steinberg in Barbarian.

The most effective results were obtained with 60 liquid oxygen and 40 pulverized coal the radius of destruction is said to have been 600 meters in derby routes and four to four and a half kilometers for the improved 25 to 50 kilogram bomb over lake steinberg i need to make it quite clear of course that it didn't destroy everything in that area that was the range of which uh it could cause some damage.

At the end of the war preparations were being made at nordhausen for the production of larger bombs with liquid oxygen as far as i'm aware no use was made of this weapon in the second world war after germany's surrender mario zipper maya stayed in the salzburg region in austria despite his invention he was not picked up by operation paperclip to work for the united states and the soviet union wasn't interested. In him either nonetheless he provided answers to questions asked of him research on this type of weapon went ahead in both the united states and the soviet union weapons of this type were used in vietnam in both bunker busting and bombardment roles both the soviet union and the united states used this weapon in afghanistan for clearing above all caves and similar positions russia used this weapon in built-up areas in chechnya

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