TechRussia Intensifies Frontline Bombardments; Ukraine Seeks F-16 Response

Russia Intensifies Frontline Bombardments; Ukraine Seeks F‑16 Response

Su-34 dropping a bomb - illustrative photo
Su-34 dropping a bomb - illustrative photo
Images source: © Wikimedia Commons
1:27 PM EDT, March 27, 2024

Russians have recently adopted a new tactic of bombardment, dropping hundreds of bombs daily along the front line. Among these are the several-hundred-pound KABs, which analysts from the DeepState profile on Telegram describe as a "miraculous weapon," according to Forbes. The delivery of F-16s could be pivotal in countering these KABs.

DeepState notes that the Ukrainian military "practically has no means" to counter the Russian forces attacking with KAB glide bombs. Forbes highlights the difficult situation at the front with the battles for Avdiivka, where Ukrainian defenses were overwhelmed after being bombarded with over 100 bombs daily for several days.

The "miraculous weapon" of the Russians

“All buildings and structures simply 'turn into an abyss' upon the arrival of even one KAB,” states Yehor Zukor from the 3rd Independent Assault Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Forbes reports that in mid-March, the attacks using KABs were temporarily halted, but the Russians swiftly resumed them, upping the frequency of the bombings. For the Ukrainians, this resumption is a dire signal, as they currently lack an effective defense against these airborne assaults. General Ivan Havryluk believes "help should come from delivering F-16 fighters."

Forbes explains that F-16s boast superior sensors, self-defense systems, and missiles compared to the current Su and MiG fighters. With F-16s, Kyiv could potentially repel bomber attacks, provided it is willing to deploy these valuable assets.

KAB Bombs and F-16 Fighters

The KAB-500 family bombs, of Russian design, feature guided flight capabilities and weighed about 1,100 lbs, depending on the version. Originating from the FAB-500 bomb, they generally serve a multipurpose role. The KAB-500L variant, for instance, is a laser-guided weapon packed with 992 lbs of explosives. Its precision is pinpointed to a maximum of 23 ft, making it effective in challenging terrains. Dropped from planes like the Su-24 or MiG-27, these laser-guided bombs lock onto targets and are released from altitudes ranging between 1,640 to 16,400 ft at 341 to 683 mph speeds, with the electronics handling the rest.

In contrast, the F-16 fighters envisioned as a countermeasure to the KAB family bombs can reach nearly Mach 2, approximately 1,305 mph, and exhibit exceptional maneuverability. Beyond the standard M61 Vulcan cannon of 20 mm caliber, their arsenal can be equipped with AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, AIM-120 AMRAAM, or JDAM bombs, enhancing their combat capabilities.

Related content