NewsGliding bomb mishap: Russian weapon lands in Belgorod instead of Ukraine

Gliding bomb mishap: Russian weapon lands in Belgorod instead of Ukraine

One of the buildings and cars in Biełgorod damaged by a glide bomb FAB dropped by a Russian plane.
One of the buildings and cars in Biełgorod damaged by a glide bomb FAB dropped by a Russian plane.
Images source: © X (formerly Twitter)
5:43 AM EDT, May 5, 2024

Russians have been targeting locations in Ukraine with gliding bombs from the FAB series, equipped with UMPK modules. These bombs are released from high altitudes, enabling them to glide for miles. On May 4, 2024, a bomb intended for Kharkiv went off course due to a malfunction and landed in the Russian city of Belgorod instead.

This incident is not the first time a FAB bomb with a UMPK module has landed in Belgorod, as Russia frequently uses them in attacks close to Kharkiv. Sometimes, the wing deployment mechanism of the bomb malfunctions, causing it to drop like a traditional, unguided bomb.

The misplaced bomb damaged 30 buildings and 10 vehicles in a residential area. The extent of the damage, coupled with the absence of reported fatalities, suggests that a lighter bomb, possibly weighing either 550 pounds or 1100 pounds, was deployed rather than the heavier one-and-a-half-ton variant.

FAB Bombs – A Tough Target

Russia has been developing the UMPK modules (Unified Set of Planning and Correction Modules) since the early 2000s, with their first operational use coming towards the end of 2022. These bombs are akin to the JDAM/-ER, where an obsolete unguided bomb is retrofitted with inertial and satellite navigation (using Russia's GLONASS system) and equipped with deployable wings.

This modification transforms an outdated aerial bomb into a precision munition capable of reaching targets dozens of miles away with an accuracy of about 30 feet. Due to their high velocity and robust casing, which is resistant to anti-aircraft shrapnel, these bombs are exceptionally challenging to intercept.

Furthermore, their several hundred pounds of TNT can completely obliterate field fortifications. These advanced munitions have significantly contributed to Russian forces pushing Ukrainian troops out of Avdiivka. According to journalist Łukasz Michalik from Virtual Poland, the most effective countermeasure is to shoot down the aircraft before it can release the bomb.

Related content