Russia Escalates Use of Retrofitted Glide Bombs in Ukraine, Straining Ukrainian Defenses

Russia has been deploying thousands of glide bombs against Ukraine, significantly impacting the ongoing conflict by straining Ukrainian military resources and facilitating Russian territorial advancements. These weapons, derived from Soviet-era explosives, have been updated with modern guidance systems to function like cruise missiles but at a fraction of the cost. This adaptation allows for mass production and deployment, presenting a formidable challenge to Ukrainian defenses, particularly in urban areas and static defense positions. The glide bombs’ effectiveness, coupled with their low cost and the difficulty in intercepting them, underscores a critical aspect of the war’s evolving dynamics.

  • Russia’s glide bombs are retrofitted Soviet-era high explosive aviation bombs, made highly destructive and difficult to intercept through modern upgrades.
  • The bombs come in various sizes, with the largest, the FAB-1500, capable of leveling buildings due to its massive explosive payload.
  • A universal planning and correction module is added to these “dumb bombs” to guide them to their targets, effectively transforming them into guided missiles.
  • Retrofitting these bombs is significantly cheaper than producing new guided weapons, costing only tens of thousands of dollars each.
  • Due to their small radar signature, glide bombs are hard to detect and intercept, posing a significant challenge to Ukrainian air defense systems.
  • While effective against static targets, glide bombs cannot hit moving targets, limiting their use in mobile combat scenarios.
  • Russia has increased the production of glide bombs, including developing larger and more explosive versions, indicating a strategic emphasis on these weapons.
  • Ukraine is seeking ways to counter the threat, including acquiring F-16 fighter jets to strike Russian planes before they release bombs and focusing on electronic warfare to jam the bombs’ guidance systems.
  • Analysts suggest that advanced air defense systems, like the US-made Patriots, could enhance Ukraine’s ability to intercept these bombs, though positioning these systems poses its own risks.
  • The continued use of glide bombs by Russia is expected to play a significant role in the conflict, emphasizing the need for effective countermeasures by Ukraine.

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