The Ukroboronprom State Concern has started serial production of fuel-air explosives (FAE) – the new RPO-16 infantry fire-flamethrowers equipped with a grenade packed with a special thermobaric mixture, the concern’s press service said.
According to the report, new thermobaric weapons, which will be mass-produced in the framework of the state defense order at the concern’s State Scientific Research Institute have already passed tests and will soon strengthen Ukrainian Armed Forces units.
The high-explosive 93mm RPO-16 round is equivalent to a large-caliber artillery shell and capable of hitting the enemy hiding behind strong fortifications, as well as lightly armored vehicles, at a distance of about one kilometer.
The invention and serial production of RPO-16 were ensured by Ukroboronprom’s Scientific Research Institute of Chemical Products, Impulse, and the state-owned Artem holding company, the press service said.
In July last year, Ukrainian FAEs, and in particular the RPO-16, have proven to be highly effective in tests overseen by Ukrainians military and defense officials.
According to data from open sources, large-caliber FAEs are comparable in power to ultra-small tactical nuclear munitions, but they do not have the radiation effect of damage. To date, the most powerful bomb with a solid conventional explosive in the world is the U.S. armed forces GBU-43/Massive Ordance Air Blast (MOAB) with an explosion capacity of up to 11 tons of TNT. Russia announced testing of experimental volumetric ammunition with a capacity of 44 tons of TNT in 2007, but there is only one video confirming its existence. (Interfax-Ukraine/Business World Magazine)