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Russian Su-34 Bomber Strikes Ukraine with New Upgraded Precision-Guided FAB-500 M62 Bombs

On April 8, 2024, the Russian Ministry of Defense released a new video showcasing the Russian Air Force's Su-34 fighter bombers executing strikes on targets within Ukraine. They utilized an advanced version of the FAB-500 M62 high-explosive bombs, fitted with the Universal Modular Platform-Control (UMPC) kit, converting the bombs into precision-guided munitions. This modification enables the munitions to deliver accurate strikes under any weather conditions, marking a significant enhancement in their operational effectiveness.
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A Russian Air Force Su-34 fighter bomber aircraft carrying new FAB-500 M62 fitted with UMPC kit. (Picture source Russian MoD Video footage)

The Russian UMPC kit is analogous to the US Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) system, which similarly transforms unguided bombs into smart munitions capable of precision targeting. Specifically designed to be compatible with munitions such as the FAB-250 and FAB-500, among others, the UMPC kits retrofit these conventional bombs with advanced guidance systems. The addition of the UMPC kit to the FAB-500 M62 bombs fundamentally alters their nature, converting "dumb" bombs into guided ones equipped with a sophisticated control system.

This UMPC kit autonomously guides the bomb to its target with high accuracy, facilitated by the kit's inclusion of folding wings and rudders, thereby elevating a standard bomb into a precision instrument of warfare. This enhancement not only increases the efficacy of the munitions in hitting targets but also significantly mitigates collateral damage.

The FAB-500 M62 is engineered to obliterate military-industrial installations, railway hubs, field positions, and personnel in exposed areas, as well as lightly armored vehicles and trucks, whether stationary or in motion, especially within primary concentration zones. This high-explosive, modern, streamlined, low-drag, general-purpose (LDGP) bomb is designed with a thin casing to maximize blast overpressure and create fragmentary casualties over an extended range.

Distinct from the OFAB series in its construction, the FAB series, including the FAB-500 M62, features a casing thickness of only 10mm in its central parallel section, with a considerably thicker rounded ogive or nose section for enhanced durability. The bomb's mostly hollow tail cone, fabricated from sheet steel no more than 4 mm thick, accommodates two fuze wells for impact and inertia/impact fuzes, respectively, and is fitted with four fins and a strengthening ring to ensure stability and reliability upon deployment.

The FAB-500 M62 bomb showcases a set of main characteristics that underscore its design and functional capabilities. It has a diameter of 400 mm and a length of 2470 mm, with the bomb itself weighing 500 kg. Of this weight, 300 kg is attributed to the explosive material, which is equivalent to TNT. Designed for operational flexibility, the bomb can be released from altitudes ranging between 570 to 12,000 meters. Furthermore, it is capable of being deployed at speeds spanning from 500 to 1,900 kilometers per hour, allowing for versatility in launch conditions and ensuring its efficacy across a wide range of military operations.

This advancement signifies a leap forward in the precision and efficiency of aerial bombardment capabilities in Ukraine, potentially altering the dynamics of military engagements by enhancing the accuracy and reducing the unintended consequences of airstrikes.

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