Russia glide bombs usually hit their very own territory | EUROtoday

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The highly effective glide-bombs that Russia has used to such nice impact to pound Ukrainian cities into rubble have additionally been falling by itself territory, an inner Russian doc has revealed.

At least 38 of the bombs, which have been credited with serving to drive Russia’s current territorial advances, crashed into the Belgorod area on the border with Ukraine between April 2023 and April 2024, in response to the doc obtained by The Washington Post, although most didn’t detonate.

Roughly corresponding to the extra superior American JDAM guided bombs, these glide bombs are massive Soviet-era munitions retrofitted with steerage methods that specialists say usually fail — leading to impacts on Russian territory.

The majority of the bombs have been found by civilians — forest rangers, farmers or residents of villages surrounding the town. In most circumstances, the Defense Ministry didn’t know when the bombs had been launched, indicating that a few of them may have been there for days.

According to the doc, at the least 4 bombs fell on the town of Belgorod itself, a regional hub with a inhabitants of about 400,000 folks. An further seven have been discovered within the surrounding suburbs. The most, 11, fell within the Graivoron border area the place some couldn’t be recovered due to the “difficult operational situation.”

The doc, initially intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence and handed on to The Post, features a spreadsheet of incidents citing emergency decrees on bomb cleanup and evacuation and seems to be a product of the Belgorod metropolis emergency division.

Astra, an unbiased Russian media outlet, verified that most of the incidents within the doc matched these it had collected from native governments and experiences in native information media. People talked about as witnesses have been confirmed as residents.

While the bombs normally fail to detonate, one of many first recorded hitting Belgorod in April 2023 did explode when it crashed right into a usually busy road, making a crater 65 ft huge, shattering home windows, and hurling parked vehicles onto roofs of buildings. The influence occurred at night time, nonetheless, and no casualties have been reported. A day later a second, unexploded bomb was discovered buried 23 ft into the bottom.

Russian navy acknowledged on the time that the “accidental release of aircraft munition” from a Russian Su-34 fighter-bomber was behind the explosion. The doc later confirmed it was FAB-500, a glide bomb, carrying a 500 kilogram, or 1,100 pound, payload.

Local authorities usually stay quiet concerning the incidents, solely reporting “accidents,” blaming Ukrainian shelling or simply not reporting the varied explosions rattling the realm, significantly extra lately.

On May 4 — after the interval lined by the doc — one other bomb fell on Belgorod, injuring seven folks and damaging greater than 30 homes in a small neighborhood. Citing a supply within the emergency companies, the Astra media outlet reported it was additionally a FAB-500.


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Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov stated solely that “an explosion happened.”

“The governor always reports what exactly caused the explosion, but this time he decided not to disclose it,” unbiased native outlet Pepel famous on the time. “This indirectly confirms that the explosion was caused by a Russian air bomb that fell on the house during the bombing. The nature of the destruction also indicates this.”

On May 12, one other blast destroyed a number of tales of an condo block in Belgorod, killing 17 folks. The Russian navy blamed a Ukrainian missile, whereas the Conflict Intelligence Team, a Russian analysis group specializing in open-source investigations, stated video from the scene indicated it was the results of one other unintended FAB-500 bombing or a rogue antiaircraft missile fired by a Russian protection system.

On June 15, an explosion happened within the city of Shebekino, close to Belgorod, and a part of a five-story constructing collapsed, killing at the least 5, possible one other glide bomb mishap.

According to its personal tallies, Astra estimated that Russia has by accident dropped greater than 100 bombs by itself territory in addition to occupied areas in japanese Ukraine over the previous 4 months — the identical interval that has seen a significant enhance in using glide bombs.

The Russian authorities has not responded to a request for touch upon the doc or experiences of failed glide bombs.

The glide bombs are a Soviet relic hailing from the Cold War, designed as “dumb bombs” to be dropped on a goal. Russia tailored this massive stock of unguided bombs to fashionable warfare by retrofitting them with steerage methods generally known as UMPK kits — low cost pop-out wings and navigation methods.

This permits Russian Su-34 and Su-35 jets to launch them from a distance of about 40 miles, which is out of attain for many Ukrainian air protection methods.

“A certain percentage of Russian bombs is defective. This problem has existed since they started using these UMPK kits and it’s not being fundamentally solved. We think these accidental releases are caused by the unreliability of these kits, something that does not seem to bother the Air Force,” Ruslan Leviev, a navy professional with the Conflict Intelligence Group that has been monitoring Russian navy actions in Ukraine since 2014, stated in a current entrance line replace.

Since growing the weapons and particularly with the beginning of 2024, Russia has launched lots of and lots of of those bombs at Ukrainian positions, indicating a reasonably low, however not insignificant charge of failure.

“According to our estimates, only a fraction of these bombs fail, so it doesn’t affect the practical effectiveness of this weapon, no matter how cynical that may sound,” Leviev stated. “Unlike Western high-precision bombs, the UMPK kits are produced relatively cheaply and in large quantities, using civilian electronics, where reliability requirements are much lower.”

Glide bombs are additionally not as exact as cruise missiles, and infrequently miss the goal, however due to sheer explosive energy they nonetheless do vital injury.

The glide bombs have put added strain on Ukraine’s ground-based air defenses and have been instrumental in Russia’s demolition of Avdiivka, which its troops conquered in mid-February, marking its most vital achieve because the seize of Bakhmut a 12 months in the past.

“Those weapons allow Russia to supplement an inadequate inventory of tactical air-launched missiles and to avoid using free-fall bombs that expose pilots to a greater risk of being shot down,” in response to current evaluation by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Ukraine’s greatest protection in opposition to them is the U.S. Patriot surface-to-air missile that may destroy a Russian plane earlier than it approaches to launch the bomb, however the methods are in brief provide.

In late March, the Defense Ministry introduced the event of a brand new, heavier model of the glide bomb, the FAB-3000, weighing twice as a lot because the next-biggest mannequin. The quantity corresponds to the burden in kilograms, making it greater than 6,000 kilos. It was lastly deployed June 21 in opposition to the Ukrainian village of Liptsy.

The ministry additionally stated the manufacturing of the lighter FAB-500 and FAB-1500 had been drastically elevated.