Armed With FAB-500 Bombs, Russian Su-34 Fighter Bombers Hit Fortified Area Of Ukrainian Armed Forces

Russian Su-34 fighter bombers attacked a fortified area of ​​the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Krasnokamensk region with FAB-500 aerial bombs, the press service of the Ministry of Defense said. 

“The crew of multifunctional supersonic fighter-bombers Su-34 of the Aerospace Forces attacked the enemy’s fortified area and manpower in the Krasnokamensk direction,” the report said.

The pilots used FAB-500 unguided aerial bombs with a universal planning and correction module (UMPC), which allowed them to carry out precise strikes from a safe distance from the line of combat. Having received confirmation from intelligence that the targets had been destroyed, the crew returned safely to the departure airfield.

Russian Su-34 Attacking From 30,000 Feet?

Military analysts suggested that the use of UMPC-500 is aimed at bypassing the Ukrainian air defense network. An avid Russian military watcher and Indian Air Force veteran, Vijainder K. Thakur also made a very intriguing observation based on the video released by the MoD.

Thakur said, “Going by the perspective from the cockpit, I would estimate the height of the Su-34 releasing the UMPK-500 to be around 30,000 ft, in which case RuAF is now dropping the bombs from a greater height than before?”

On being asked if it was sustainable for the Su-34 Fullback bomber aircraft to fly at that altitude, Thakur said, “While the Su-34 is capable of flying at 30,000 ft, doing so with a heavy weapon load reduces the maneuverability of the aircraft. Reduced maneuverability is acceptable in the situation because the aircraft remains well out of adversary AD range.”

Elaborating on how it works, he added, “By releasing bombs kitted with a glide and guidance (UMPC) kit, the stand-off range would be greater, allowing the aircraft to stay even further from Ukrainian AD.”

EurAsian Times had previously reported on how the MiG-31 Foxhound of the VKS was used to carry out the shootdown of the Ukrainian aircraft by making use of its capability to carry out attacks from very high altitudes. However, the Su-34 dropping UPMC may be intriguing. The Su-34 has also been modified to carry the Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

Earlier, the RIA report noted that before the flight, the crew received the coordinates of the location of the enemy command post. A squad of Su-34 bombers, accompanied by a Su-35s fighter, took off from the base airfield.

As emphasized in the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, after completing the combat mission, the whole group successfully returned to the airfield, and the reconnaissance reported that the target was successfully hit. These claims could not be independently verified by EurAsian Times.

Last year, Russia introduced the gliding and automatic guidance kit on many of its drop bombs, especially the FAB-500M52, which increases the bombs’ range and makes them immune to many air defense systems.

The Russian MoD previously released four videos showing the Su-34 in action, hinting at the deployment of UPMC bomb kits. At the time, the Fullbacks flew low-altitude sorties, between 1,000 and 3,000 feet, indicating that the area was not lined with Soviet or Western-origin air defense systems.

File Image: Su-34 Fighter Bombers

A video from December 15 showed a Su-34 being loaded with UMPC-enabled FAB bombs on both the wing pylons. It appears that the one on the right wing gets released. Several military analysts and journalists actively covering the war have noted that these bombs scare the Ukrainians away and push them away from the frontlines.

RIA Novosti had also quoted military expert Alexey Leonkov, who said the use of the FAB-500 bomb with the UMPC kit along the entire frontline had “become a serious problem for the AFU.”

Russia has been using the FAB-250, FAB-500, and FAB-1500 bombs against Ukraine for several months now. The recent report did not indicate which kit bomb was used.