It is feared that Russia is arming its kamikaze drones with powerful explosives. This news has added a new and fearsome dimension to the persistent threat.
The new 40 kg thermobaric warhead: a devastating weapon
Ukrainian internal sources maintain that the Russian Federation has equipped its Geran-2/ Shahed-136 kamikaze drones with a new thermobaric warhead. Created with the latest weapons technology, this warhead weighs an impressive 40 kg.
The news was revealed by PEP and EW communications analyst Sergey Beskrestnov, known in defense circles as “Flash.” A photograph of the weaponry supported his claim.
To understand the magnitude of this weaponry, it is enough to say that a Bumblebee jet flamethrower – a much smaller unit of comparison – weighs only 3 kilos and covers 80 cubic meters indoors and 50 square meters outdoors.
Assessing the impact of a 40 kg thermobaric warhead is not simple due to the numerous factors that influence its effectiveness, including the version used and its components. However, a warhead of this size could cover a large area, hundreds of square or cubic meters.
Experts often equate the power of such a warhead to that of the TOS-1A Solntsepek heavy flamethrower system. Although the exact weight of the warhead it uses has not been officially revealed, it is estimated to range between 30 and 90 kilograms.
Although it can have a considerable impact on the substation or warehouse, the true effectiveness of a thermobaric weapon is found in its use in closed areas, where overpressure increases the power of the explosion.
The lethality of the thermobaric “cloud”
A thermobaric explosion creates a shock wave, followed by the release of components of the thermobaric explosive. This mixture reacts with the air and its own components, forming an extremely hot “cloud” of between 2,400 and 2,600 °C for approximately one second.
Unlike a conventional shock wave, this “cloud” expands and permeates the environment, making it impossible to avoid it, even if one takes cover behind a corner. This type of explosion generates immense heat and a very strong shock wave, which can seriously affect various organs, including the lungs and the hearing system.
With the arrival of winter in Ukraine, the country is preparing for more than just low temperatures. The Geran-2/Shaed-136 is preparing for a new assault on buildings and energy infrastructure.
Last winter, Russia carried out multiple attacks against civilian energy infrastructure, leaving millions of Ukrainians without power in the middle of an extremely cold winter. Damage is estimated at $10 billion.
The effectiveness of Gepard SPAAG
Ukrainian soldiers report that the best defense against Russian kamikaze drones is the Gepard SPAAG, a weapon that had been retired from active service. This system can effectively protect Ukraine’s energy infrastructure if provided with enough ammunition.
Furthermore, the Gepard proves to be impressively efficient in terms of ammo consumption, which becomes essential when having to shoot down winged weapons, as it requires only a few rounds per target.