As Russian Aerospace Forces intensify their ongoing aerial attacks on Ukraine, the Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has released a video showcasing a new glide bomb conversion kit with pop-out wings for the monstrous FAB-1500 M54 high-explosive fragmentation bombs.
The Russian Ministry of Defense published the video giving the most precise view of the FAB-1500 M54 high-explosive bombs with wing kits. The video is reportedly from a recent visit by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu to the JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation. It was subsequently published on social media and has since gone viral.
Formally referred to as unified gliding and correction module or UMPK (UPMC), the wing kits are manufactured by JSC Tactical Missiles Corporation. In essence, wing kits could be attached to a free-falling bomb to transform it into a guided bomb.
The module has a control system that fires ammunition automatically at the target, folding wings and rudders. The kit essentially makes any bomb into a high-precision one.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Tactical Missiles Corporation has set up a series of production lines for guided glide and adjustment modules and modular guided glide bombs, TASS News Agency reported. The corporation has managed to triple its production output since last year.
”The Corporation solved tasks of increasing hit accuracy and resistance to jamming for munitions, organized series production of guided glide and correction modules, modular guided glide bombs, and control units for rocket projectiles,” the minister said.
— Massimo Frantarelli (@MrFrantarelli) January 12, 2024
The visit and the subsequent exhibit of wing kits for the FAB-1500 M54 came as Russia continued aerial attacks on Kyiv. Many Russian tactical planes would now have a new and significantly more devastating stand-off strike option in the form of FAB-1500 M54s with wing kits, letting pilots stay farther away from enemy defenses.
EurAsian Times reported earlier that Russian Su-34 Fullback fighters were attacking fortified Ukrainian targets using the 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.
Russia has been using the FAB-250 and FAB-500, fitted with UMPC kits, for several months. However, the new images of FAB-1500 M54 with UMPC also suggest that they are three times bigger than the Russian bombs with pop-out wing kits, which are already posing a severe threat to Ukrainian forces, resulting in significant adjustments to their air defense strategies.
What Do We Know About The FAB-1500 M54?
A modified UMPK kit, aimed at improving guiding accuracy and range depending on satellite coordinates, is fitted with the produced FAB-1500 guided bomb, according to reports. Although the wing kit’s range remains unknown, experts believe that both range and accuracy may have been extended compared to other aerial bombs fitted with wing kits in its arsenal.
As soon as the visuals of the new modified weapon were published online, military watchers noted that it looked like a very streamlined version of the FAB-1500 M54 with UPMC. A famous military watcher of the Russian military who goes by the name Guy Plopsky on Platform X observed that to give it a more streamlined appearance, the bomb looks to have been equipped with a rudimentary rounded dome-shaped fairing at the front.
The Russian MoD released footage of a UMPK-equipped 1,500kg-class FAB-1500 M-54 (still images show a mock-up/inert version). It appears that the bomb has been fitted with a crude rounded dome-shaped fairing at the front to give it a more streamlined shape. https://t.co/K1iRuR95Ic pic.twitter.com/MCp5i94Bzd
— Guy Plopsky (@GuyPlopsky) January 12, 2024
Some other military enthusiasts on social media said that the kit had undergone significant modifications in addition to the weapon. One social media user said that the kit tip had been pushed forward to cover the wing joint (perhaps lowering drag), and a v-tail has been added—likely to increase crosswind performance and accuracy. Other than that, design construction appears to be unchanged.
The FAB-1500 M54 bombs could be installed on the centerline and some wing stations of Russia’s Su-34 Fullback combat planes, Su-35 Flanker-E, and Su-30SM Flanker fighters.
The heavyweight FAB-1500 M54 with wing kits could bring a new precision and range for Russian aerial attacks. The FAB-1500 M54 outfitted with UMPC has a considerably higher destructive capability than the FAB-500 M62-based variants, which makes it advantageous when facing novel target sets.
This may be beneficial now more than ever when Russia is targeting Ukrainian military-defense infrastructure while trying to steer clear of Ukraine’s saturated airspace. There have been instances of Ukrainian Patriots shooting down Russian fighter jets. The need to launch stand-off attacks is, thus, more significant than ever.
It provides the Russian military with a new method for better using the heavier 1,500-kilogram-class weapons. Interestingly, the United States has no direct military equivalent to the FAB-1500 M54.
Rumors have been circulating since April 2023 that a UMPC for the FAB-1500 M54 is in the works. The Russian military-affiliated Telegram channel Fighterbomber stated in September of last year that FAB-1500 M54s with wing kits were being utilized against targets in Ukraine.
At the time, reports doing rounds on social media indicated that the new glider design had greatly expanded the bomb delivery range compared to similar, lower-yield explosives now in service with the VKS.
‼️🇷🇺💥 Russian Army Deploys FAB-1500 with UPMK for the First Time, Reports Fighterbomber
▪️ The range of bomb delivery has been significantly increased (compared to similar, lower-yield munitions) thanks to the new glider design.
▪️ With an advertised accuracy of 5 meters, the… pic.twitter.com/lRTr0qHr4P
— Zlatti71 (@djuric_zlatko) September 5, 2023
On his part, the Fighterbomber claims that the designers could not expand the planning and correction modules (UMPC) used on the FAB-250 and FAB-500 and mount them on the truck for an unknown reason. So, everything had to be built from scratch, including a new airframe and mechanisms. “Everything is solid, but everything is new,” the blogger wrote.