Russian “glide bombs” are causing absolute panic among Ukrainian soldiers, leading them to flee immediately after they take positions on the frontlines, with the bombs being invulnerable to known air defense.
The retreat or the loss of manpower has other cascading tactical battlefield repercussions for Ukraine, exacerbating the situation.
This was stated in a report on the German news channel Welt, which recognized the effectiveness of the Universal Module for Planning and Correction (UMPC) kit fitted on unguided ‘dumb bombs.’
These are used to strike heavily defended ground positions while also staying outside the range of enemy air defense missiles. The Su-34 Fullback fighter bomber dropped the bombs, emerging as an effective ground attack and battlefield interdiction aircraft.
Glide Kitted Bombs & Su-34
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.
This is owing to the lack of any electromagnetic emission in terms of radio or radar seekers in the nose or jet or rocket propulsion that might be detected by SAM’s infrared (IR) seekers.
A previous EurAsian Times report also featured four videos by the RuMoD showing the Su-34 in action, with the use of the UMPC-enabled bombs implied in the type of aerial attack.
But it primarily centered around how the Fullbacks flew low-altitude missions between 1,000 to 3,000 feet, more consistent with its intended role and operating profile.
That the jets were so close to the ground meant Ukraine did not have its Soviet-origin or Western air defense systems in the region at the time — possibly because Ukraine had run out of the missiles and was awaiting replenishment from the US and Europe.
UMPC Guided Bombs: Menace For Ukrainian Army
According to the report by journalist Christoph Wanner, “The Ukrainians deploy their troops, but the Russians attack them with gliding bombs. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have to retreat and recruit new soldiers. They have to run back and forth. They can’t move forward.” This was not to mention the winter weather conditions further curtailing Ukrainian military operations.
RIA Novosti had also quoted military expert and editor of the magazine Arsenal of the Fatherland 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.”
This report also interestingly coincides with the RuMoD again heavily featuring not only the Su-34 in some of its recent publicity material but also showing the UMPC-kitted bombs in action in surprisingly greater detail.
This includes their release from the pylons, their gliding mode after being dropped, and recordings of the weapons management controls on the multi-function displays (MFD) inside the cockpit when the bombs are engaged.
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.
The RuMoD said the fighter hit “enemy positions in the Kupyansk direction.” These included “AFU command posts, transport vehicles, and heavily armored hardware,” which the pilots destroyed using “high-explosive aerial bombs with a universal planning and correction module.”
Before that, a video from December 11 showed a Su-34 “neutralizing…clusters of enemy manpower with high-explosive” UMPC-kitted bombs. That video showed the exact placement of the bombs as the subsequent December 15 action. The two bombs are delivered free-falling from an angle around the jet’s under-fuselage, with the wings folded out. The plane then comes to land.
Videos from December 15, December 11, and December 7, showed FAB bombs installed with UMPC glide kits dropped from Su-34 fighter bombers on Ukrainian positions. pic.twitter.com/Coc71McmC6
— EurAsian Times (@THEEURASIATIMES) December 17, 2023
On December 7, the RuMoD showed another Su-34 taking off, with the UMPC contraption seen on a bomb on the middle pylon on the left wing. This is the video with the scarce shot of the weapons management system in the MFD inside the cockpit.
It shows the two bombs on the digital rendition of the wing disappearing, indicating they have been dropped, along with a display of the EO system covering the ground. It may record the target on the ground but doesn’t appear to capture the part when it is hit.
This was near Kupyansk, where the pilots “bombed AFU positions and neutralized a cluster of enemy manpower without entering the killing zone of AFU air defense systems.”