Su-34 and Su-57 have begun using the new GROM gliding munition
MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russian fighters have started using the new GROM-32 gliding missile. This is clear from several sources, including photographic evidence from the war in Ukraine. According to the manufacturer, the new ammunition is designed to arm all types of aircraft. This includes all Sukhoi and Mikoyan fighters, fighter-bombers such as the Su-34, as well as the Russian Su-57 stealth fighter. They can be placed on aircraft launchers or ejection devices, and not only on external hardpoints but also in internal compartments.
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The GROM-32 gliding missile is actually a constructor, literally. It is based on several basic elements that can be combined in one way or another during the production process, resulting in different products for certain purposes and tasks.
Modules and warheads
The new Russian missile includes a basic warhead module. The warhead can be classic HE or volume detonating. Its weight reaches 315 kilograms, which is quite a lot for a planning bomb. However, such a charge is not always sufficient, and the unique character of the GROM-32 comes to the rescue here – the additional warhead module. It is placed behind the main one and is designed to increase the effect due to the additional 165 kg, which is almost half a ton in total.
However, this rocket allows not only increases the effect of detonation but also changes the charge. Russian experts say that the charge can be replaced with thermobaric options. If there is a threat of using long-range anti-aircraft weapons, such as Patriot or NASAMS, the additional warhead can be safely replaced with the so-called MDU or propulsion unit.
The new missile under the wings of Russian fighters can fly an impressive 120 kilometers. This distance completely secures the carrier aircraft. In addition, GROM-32 also has an element of steering mechanisms, a control system, and a planning module. I.e. we have three main variants of the latest ammunition – it is a small cruise missile, a boosted aviation bomb, and a thermobaric one.
Advantages of GROM-32
The main advantage is the wide series of production, which makes it a quality and cheap option. The missile does not have particularly complex electronic components, such as a homing head, and all other elements are not that expensive. But the effect of the application is great.
For example, working together with drones. They immediately transmit coordinates and send them via the AS-UAV system to a carrier aircraft. This is ideal, and judging by the data of the last weeks, the Russian command began to fully implement this scheme.
Another advantage is the possibility of upgrading individual elements of GROM-32. For example, control and guidance systems. They may be able to “fasten” something more serious than targeting a signal from a satellite, which is not always possible. For example, a relatively inexpensive seeker like that of kamikaze drones would allow the missile to be used at night against moving targets.
Increasing the range
In the current configuration, the ammunition is not capable of this and is intended for the most part to neutralize static objects such as buildings, warehouses, and others. Or a drive module. Let’s say the enemy improves their anti-aircraft weapon from the current 120 km to 150 km. Russian air defenses can upgrade the MRL and the carrier is safe again.
GROM requires prior intelligence
The use of gliding munitions in itself is an extremely significant phenomenon, especially for Russian aviation. At the same time, without serious reconnaissance, this activity is useless, since such weapons require precise coordinates of the target.
Apparently, the Russian Air Force has finally begun to switch to this extremely effective scheme, which is also noted by Ukrainian military experts. It should be noted that GROM is far from the only one on the list of new products spotted recently. The UPAB-1500B, whose mass is up to one and a half tons, appeared similarly. When launched from a height of 15 kilometers, the ammunition can fly up to 50 kilometers and deliver a warhead weighing more than 1,000 kilograms to the target.
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