Russia drops new ‘fire-and-forget’ bombs outside Ukrainian air defense

MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Avdiivka is a Ukrainian town close to the city of Donetsk. In recent days, the city has been heavily bombed by Russian strike aviation. Videos have even appeared on the web, which allegedly shows the bombing of the city.

Russia drops new 'fire-and-forget' bombs outside Ukrainian air defense Avdiivka
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Open sources say that Avdiivka is a city of regional significance for the Donetsk region. Before the war, the city was economically well-developed. On its outskirts is the Avdiivka Coke and Chemical Plant [AKHZ]. It is the largest producer of coke in Ukraine. In addition to coke, the plant specializes in the production of complementary products, such as coal, tar, gasoline, coal oil, etc.

However, powerful bomb blasts deafen and wreak havoc on Avdiivka. There is no information as to whether there are active Ukrainian air defenses in the Avdiivka area. However, the bombs fell without much deterrence from the Armed Forces of Ukraine [AFU]. Reports in recent days indicate that the Russian Air Force is using a new bomb that was first presented to the public in 2019. What this bomb is and how it works, we will tell in the following lines.

UPAB-1500B(-E), also known as K029BE

The UPAB-1500B is a Russian aviation planning bomb. An extremely dangerous weapon according to the opinion of several experts from “both sides of the barricade”. In 2019, after it was officially presented to the general public at the Russian exhibition MAKS-2019, the manufacturer State Scientific and Production Enterprise Region announced that tests are coming.

Russia drops new 'fire-and-forget' bombs outside Ukrainian air defense UPAB-1500B-E
Photo credit: Telegram

Tests were successfully conducted that year and the UPAB-1500B went into serial production. Russian sources claim that production has even begun for a foreign client. There is no information as to whether this particular production was completed and, accordingly, the delivery was completed. But it is a fact that in 2019-2020 the bomb officially entered service with the Russian army.

Features of UPAB-1500B

The UPAB-1500B can be carried by any Russian attack aircraft as well as older Soviet designs. The bomb has a diameter of 400 mm and a length of at least 5 meters. It is categorized as a large-caliber guided planning bomb. The main targets are stationary objects of small and medium sizes, as well as bunkers or defensive facilities.

Russia drops new 'fire-and-forget' bombs outside Ukrainian air defense
Photo credit: Telegram

It weighs just over a ton and a half. The firepower of the bomb is concentrated in 1,010 kg, which falls on the warhead of the bomb. The UPAB-1500B has a cone-shaped oval shape along its entire length. Four wings in the middle and four smaller wings on the tail distinguish it.

The UPAB-1500B is a guided bomb with built-in inertial and satellite navigation. The bomb is of the ‘fire-and-forget’ type and has a three-mode contact fuse. The UPAB-1500B can be activated on contact with the enemy position or on delay. The second mode is used when the bomb has breached its opening from inertial forces and the building, or the fortification needs to be detonated from the inside.

Outside the air defense zone

It is the navigation system that makes the bomb extremely dangerous. Russian attack aircraft can drop the bomb and activate its guidance at a distance of up to 50 km. In this way, Russian aircraft avoid enemy anti-aircraft missile systems. Thus, the risk of front-line combat or attack aircraft being hit is reduced.

To achieve maximum efficiency, the UPAB-1500B carrier must rise to an altitude of at least 14 km. Analysts say the bomb is extremely accurate thanks to satellite and inertial navigation. The second [inertial navigation] helps the bomb to be noise resistant as well.

It’s not the first time

Sources (Russian and Ukrainian) claim that the use of the UPAB-1500B by the Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] began in recent weeks. However, this is incorrect information.

Russia drops new 'fire-and-forget' bombs outside Ukrainian air defense upab-1500
Photo credit: Telegram

There is photo material that the UPAB-1500B was first used as early as March of last year. A photo released by the Russian Ministry of Defense confirms this fact. On one of the wings of a Russian fighter jet, a close-up shot of the bomb is very clear. On it is written “Z – for the Kuryans!”

However, extensive damage to buildings and sites in the Ukrainian town of Avdiivka in recent weeks is why the bomb is believed to have been used for the first time. Sources attribute not a small part of these defeats in Avdiivka to the UPAB-1500B.


Despite the great destructive power of the bomb’s warhead, which can pierce ceilings and undermine the interior of a structure, the bomb has its limitations. One of them is precisely the targets of the bomb – it cannot attack moving targets. It is the inertial-satellite correction that prevents the bomb from doing this.

Another limitation is the type of stationary target. The bomb is highly effective when used on protective concrete structures. Bunkers and fortifications are the most desirable bomb targets. Anything else, such as civilian buildings and small unfortified buildings, is a redundant use of the bomb, and an economically unprofitable one at that.

Due to the specifics of its use, the bomb cannot be considered any kind of universal means of air operation. The bomb is designed to destroy protected structures. Only then it is effective and reveals its full potential.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On 21 February 2022, Russia claimed that Ukrainian shelling had destroyed an FSB border facility. Russia claimed that it had killed 5 Ukrainian soldiers. They tried to cross into Russian territory. Ukraine denied being involved in both incidents and called them a false flag.

Russia drops new 'fire-and-forget' bombs outside Ukrainian air defense Avdiivka
Photo by Niclas Hammarstrom

On the same day, the Russian government formally recognized the self-proclaimed DPR and LPR. According to Putin not only in their de-facto controlled areas, but the Ukrainian Oblasts as a whole. Putin ordered Russian troops, including tanks, to enter the regions.

On 24 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine by Russian Armed Forces previously concentrated along the border. The invasion followed by targeted airstrikes of military buildings in the country, as well as tanks entering via the Belarus border.

Russia has so far not recognized the invasion of Ukraine as a “war”, although that is exactly what it is, claiming that it is a “special military operation”. According to the UN, a “special military operation” can only take place after a UN resolution. There is no such resolution. So this is an invasion and war against Ukraine.


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