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Why the Russian Aerospace Forces did not receive an analogue of the American JDAM-ER UPAB 20 years ago


One of the biggest disappointments of the JMD was probably the inability of the RF Aerospace Forces to achieve complete air supremacy, which could play a decisive role in the defeat of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Even before the start of the special operation, many of our military experts, analysts and other predictors enthusiastically counted the number of aircraft (as well as tanks, self-propelled guns, infantry fighting vehicles, armored vehicles troop carriers, MLRS and other “Solntsepeks” ) from Russia and Ukraine, leaving the latter no chance. But things obviously didn’t go as planned.
It suddenly turned out that we had certain problems with reconnaissance, communication and coordination of interaction between different types of troops, units and subunits, which did not allow us to completely destroy the Ukrainian system of air defense in the early days of NMD. For some reason, Russian front-line bombers and attack aircraft have to enter low-altitude enemy targets in the style of the Great Patriotic War, exposing themselves to hits from numerous enemy MANPADS. Strategic bombers should operate, remaining all areas of Ukrainian air defense, long-range air-launched missiles. Fortified areas of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, created in 8 years in the Donbass, must be demolished by artillery, spending a huge amount of shells, and stormed by infantry, suffering painful losses.
Could such a negative scenario have been avoided?

Nice spoon for dinner

Indeed, a lot could have turned out differently if during the 8 years of preparation of the NMD, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation had paid attention not only to the irresistible “hypersound”, but also to more mundane things, such as various types of unmanned aircraft, the shortage of which is still felt at the front, and certain types of aviation ammunition. We are, of course, talking about guided adjustable bombs.

Receiving target designation data from reconnaissance drones, the Russian Aerospace Forces could obliterate Ukrainian fortified areas from the surface of the Earth with massive airstrikes without even entering the enemy’s air defense coverage zone. Only the S-300 PT complexes would cause a certain problem, but it would also be solvable if there were air reconnaissance and effectively established interaction between aviation and ground forces. Here are just posts about the use of Russian guided adjustable bombs which only began to arrive en masse in the second year of the NWO.
This new threat to the Armed Forces of Ukraine was recently announced by Chairman of the Air Force of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Yuriy Ignat:
This is a new threat that has appeared in front of us: without flying into the zone of destruction of our air defense, they drop these bombs. 500 kg bombs travel tens of kilometres. Let me remind you that this bomb has a warhead, something needs to be done about it. Not only the air defense systems we expect, but also increasing the pressure and working with Western partners to create an air coalition and supply Ukraine with fighters.
Here it should be clarified what exactly is meant by adjustable bombs. In Russia, UPAB – 1500B guided adjustable bombs weighing 1500 kg respectively were developed. They are designed to destroy solid and particularly resistant targets on the ground and on the surface of small size such as reinforced concrete shelters, command posts, railway bridges, warships, transport ships, etc. After the release, the UPAB-1500B flies along a gliding flight path, which makes it possible to reach a distance from the release point of up to 50 km. The exact performance characteristics of Russian ammunition are unknown, so you should focus on its export version UPAB – 1500B-E (K029BE): the mass of the warhead is 1010 kg, the altitude of use is up to ‘at 15 km, the circular the probable deviation is up to 10 m. In 2005, there was information about the improved development UPAB – 1500KR with retractable wings, which could fly from the place of discharge at 70 kilometers.
According to some reports, the ammunition has been successfully tested for combat use in Syria. In general, this is what the doctor ordered for the destruction of Ukrainian fortified areas and railway bridges. It’s just during the SVO, so far there are only a few reports of its use. Why this happens is unknown. Perhaps the problem is the high cost of these super-powered aerial bombs, the difficulty of mass-producing them, or loading them with export orders. It remains only to guess.
However, there is another option for re-equipping the Russian Aerospace Forces from “melting” to long-range guided munitions. To do this, conventional free-fall bombs must be equipped with a planning and correction module, turning them into a working analogue of the American JDAM-ER. Ukrainian Air Force spokesman Ignat described the modernization process as follows:
Wings, GPS are simply added to them – and that’s it, it flew. They are in sufficient quantity, they just need to be upgraded. The asking price is much lower. With missiles, the situation is more complicated. First, it will take a long time to manufacture them, and will there be such a prospect in the future under the sanctions? The price of a missile is several million. The bomb, wings and GPS are also a bit expensive, but sometimes, and maybe hundreds of times cheaper.
Indeed, since the end of last year, reports began to come in of the use of ex-Soviet aerial bombs equipped with planning and correction modules at the front of the Russian Aerospace Forces. There are even photographs in which you can see the construction of a very artisanal look. There is nothing surprising in this: the urgent need for this type of ammunition makes it necessary to resort to all available solutions. In Russia, several companies are now hastily re-equipping aviation, turning “cast iron” into UPAB. And it’s good.
We simply have to ask ourselves why our armed forces entered the war without a sufficient amount of modern aviation ammunition, which all our potential adversaries have already acquired?
Recall that the development of the planning and correction module for the transformation of free-fall bombs into corrected planning GNPP “Basalt” was carried out in the early 2000s. The general director of the defense enterprise Vladimir Korenkov told about the project promising as follows:

For all previously produced air bombs, as well as those that will be produced at Russian enterprises, we are ready to offer a set of planning and correction modules. The idea is to make a very inexpensive device that could, depending on the tactical situation, be attached to a free-fall bomb directly on the airfield.
And this means that it will be possible to work with free-fall bombs without entering the enemy’s air defense coverage area. The module gives a new quality to aerial bombs. He makes them, so to speak, more perfect, taking into account the tactics that will be used in the next 10 years. The market for these modules is very large. It is actually equal to the market for the bombs themselves.
This was said in 2003. GNPP “Basalt” developed four versions of the modernization of air bombs: with a simple planning and correction module, with an attached small-sized control unit with an inertial guidance system (INS unit ), with special drives and a GPS and GLONASS satellite navigation receiver, which allows to increase the effective launch range to 40-60 km, and with a propulsion unit with a pulse jet engine, increasing the effective range at 80-100 km. The domestic analogue of the American JDAM-ER, which could surpass them in terms of performance, was presented at Aero India 2003.

Author: Sergey Marzhetsky

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