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(VIDEO) Russia Modifies RBK-500 Cluster Bombs into Glide Bombs, Ukraine Lacks Countermeasures

[VIDEO] A military Telegram channel reports that Moscow has executed a series of extensive bombing campaigns using RBK-500 cluster bombs, adapted into glide bombs that are challenging for Ukrainian air defense systems to intercept, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

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(DEFENCE SECURITY ASIA) –When Moscow began deploying modified conventional bombs as glide bombs in southern Ukraine, it likely signaled that Ukraine now faces an increasingly formidable Russian air force on the battlefield.

Russia has reportedly started using modified cluster bombs as glide bombs against Ukrainian military positions for the first time, as shown in viral video clips on social media.

 In these widely shared clips on the Telegram app closely associated with the Russian military community, cluster bombs believed to be dropped by Russian fighter jets were seen exploding at an unidentified location in Ukraine.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), the Russian military Telegram channel reported that Moscow had conducted a massive bombing campaign using RBK-500 cluster bombs adapted into glide bombs in southern Donetsk.

 These RBK-500 bombs were used against Ukrainian forces in the village of Staromayorske in Donetsk, located near the southern Zaporizhzhia region.

According to the Russian military Telegram channel, the attack on Staromayorske represents the “first extensive use in Ukraine of the weapon (RBK-500) adapted as a glide bomb.”

Similar to American-made bombs such as JDAM or JDAM-ER used by the Ukrainian forces, Russian glide bombs are capable of hitting enemy targets up to 200km away when dropped from high altitude by fighter jets.

 International defense media report that the deployment of these more “intelligent” glide bombs, which have a higher explosive power, allows Russia to destroy Ukrainian defense fortifications that are deeper underground.

These glide bombs are referred to by Russia as the “Unified Module for Planning and Correction” (UMPK).

Studies indicate that these glide bombs are modified from conventional bombs used by the Russian Air Force, such as the FAB-250, FAB-500, and FAB-1500, by equipping them with the UMPK launch and correction kit.

The modifications made by the Russian military include the addition of “wings” and a new guidance system, enabling them to strike targets with greater accuracy than before.

Russia cluster bomb
Russia air force crew inspecting a pair of cluster bombs.


According to the institute, the winged bombs are outfitted with laser and satellite guidance systems, enhancing their precision to within 16 feet, a significant improvement over the previous accuracy of 160 feet.

These advanced winged bombs can be deployed by Su-30, Su-34, and Su-35 fighter jets.

“The winged bombs are capable of ‘flying’ nearly 200 km from the release point by the fighter jets to their intended target,” the institute noted, highlighting that at such distances, the aircraft can remain out of reach of Ukraine’s air defense systems.

The institute provided an example, stating that a winged bomb based on the FAB-250, weighing 100 kg, could cause a blast radius of 400 feet. In contrast, the FAB-500 bomb, with a weight of 500 kg, has a destruction radius of 800 feet.

For the FAB-1500 bomb, weighing over 1,500 kg, the blast radius extends to 1,600 feet.

“With the FAB-1500 bomb, it’s possible to inflict damage on underground fortifications up to a depth of approximately 20 meters below the surface,” the analyst mentioned, emphasizing the significant challenge these winged bombs pose to Ukraine’s air defense capabilities.

The air defense systems operated by the Ukrainian military were not initially designed to counter winged bombs, which are essentially conventional bombs without guidance systems, now being adapted and used by Russian fighter jets.

Cluster bomb submunition


“The Ukrainian air defense system fails to intercept winged bombs dropped by Russian fighter planes. This is a new threat to Ukraine, 500-kilogram bombs that can ‘fly’ for a certain distance after being equipped with wings,” said Yuriy Inhat, a spokesperson for the Ukrainian Air Force Command, as reported earlier.

High-powered winged bomb strikes have had a severe psychological impact on the population due to the massive destruction caused by such bombs.

Russia is said to be increasingly using smarter winged bombs against Ukrainian cities and military positions.

Last October, Russian fighter planes dropped about 40 winged bombs in one night on Ukrainian military targets in the Kherson region.

“In one night on October 2, Russian fighter planes dropped 40 winged bombs in just one Oblast,” he said, adding that Russia has increased air attacks on Ukraine by 36 percent recently, also witnessing an increase in the use of higher-powered winged bombs.

There are also reports stating that Russian fighter planes dropped more than 80 winged bombs with UMPK guidance on targets in the Kherson region in one night.

Using new aerial tactics, Russian fighter planes are also found to be increasingly difficult to shoot down by air defense systems. — DSA