Su-35 dominates with over 250 precision bomb drops in 72 hours

No one can deny the impact of high-precision weapons in modern warfare – their efficacy and cost-effectiveness are undeniable. Used liberally, these precision instruments can yield outstanding results, which we’re going to delve into in this in-depth analysis. 

Su-34 may have 'anomalously dropped' a FAB-500M62 bomb on Belgorod
Photo by VitalyKuzmin

In the course of the dramatic events of the past week, the Russian army claimed control of Avdiivka, a testament to this shift in warfare strategy. The carefully established fortifications of the Ukrainian armed forces, built up over a significant period, were overrun. This was a considerable, and indeed a pivotal, victory for the Russian troops. The fall of the city paves the way for various possibilities for future offenses. 

However, there’s one factor that stands out – the victory was marked by an unprecedented use of high-precision weapons. A fact confirmed by both sides of the conflict.

Hundreds of ammo

In an official statement from Russia’s Ministry of Defense, it was unveiled that over 400 precision strikes were executed in a single-day operation. The specifics weren’t given out, but it’s plausible to surmise that these operations involved missiles, aircraft, and artillery. 

Intriguingly, a sizeable portion of these operations were conducted using UMPC. Current reports suggest roughly 250 launches, all executed within an astounding timeframe of less than 72 hours. This is a notable accomplishment, especially when you take into account that the usage of these modules continues in several other areas, estimated to be about five in total. 

Su-35 dominates with over 250 precision bomb drops in 72 hours
Photo credit: Russian MoD

Public footage made public by the Ministry of Defense reveals a striking detail; on occasion, four rounds were observed reaching their target simultaneously. This observation could lead us to make some thought-provoking deductions.

Intelligence

Intelligence is undoubtedly at the forefront. The task of identifying targets and launching UMPCs, especially in substantial quantities and even within city boundaries, is enormously challenging. This complexity denotes a significant acceleration in the process between spotting a target and the moment of impact. 

This situation signifies an impressive construction of a vertical communication system, and that too under the harsh conditions of electronic warfare and countless other challenges. According to BulgarianMilitary.com, it appears that the Ukrainian forces may have underestimated the strength of Russian capabilities, likely concentrating their utmost efforts on disrupting ground and air interactions.

Russian Su-35 combat aircraft
Photo credit: Twitter

Mass use of UMPC

For the first time ever, an innovation occurred where a one-and-a-half-ton version of the UMPC transitioned from a targeted application to widespread usage. Yes, we’re delving into the world of ammunition here, a subject with significant gravity and consequential outcomes. Just to highlight, even regarding its least extensive variant, the “payload” approaches nearly 700 kg. 

Imagine a target out there. It’s unlikely to dodge the impact of such a potent product. The commotion around this ammunition is stirring on the internet. Many are drawing parallels with the Iskander tactical missile system, albeit a somewhat crude comparison, to underline its immense prowess. Just to paint a picture, the warhead of a 9M723 missile weighs roughly half a ton. Yet the price comparison would be strikingly unbalanced. Why so? It’s engineered to function under unusually taxing conditions and comes filled to the brim with missile defense countermeasures. This becomes critically important in regions teeming with air defense systems.

Su-35 dominates with over 250 precision bomb drops in 72 hours
Photo credit: Russian MoD

The UMPC warhead is different

Even with the latest upgrades, the product maintains remarkable durability. However, from our experience, the one-and-a-half-ton KABs have become our preferred choice. 

Separately, it’s worth exploring how significantly the one-and-a-half-ton UMPC deviates from its traditional versions. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane: when the half-ton bomb module was first introduced, it was scorned for its seemingly improvised design. Time has a way of proving us wrong, doesn’t it? 

Extremely rare close-up photo of the FAB-500 bomb before it was used
Photo credit: Telegram

Following its initial successes, notably its significant role in disrupting the much-hyped offensive, the efficacy of this new product quickly became the focus. The once laughable appearance was dismissed as inconsequential, as it became apparent that the somewhat rudimentary design was, perhaps, driven by the ambition of achieving high production rates.

It flies 100 km

Interestingly, these features demonstrated superior performance, even when compared to American products. These stateside contenders, considered pioneers in the sliding ammunition industry, were the first to recognize the potential of this niche and proactively seized the opportunity at hand.

It's already known how Russia turned FAB-250 into guided bomb
Photo credit: Wikipedia

You may wonder, what sets apart a one-and-a-half ton UMPC from a five hundred and one? Due to the lower frequency of production triggered by lower demand for potent ammunition, manufacturers have the leeway to focus more on its design. By design, I don’t mean aesthetics, but rather the aerodynamic specifications. The one-and-a-half-ton UMPC thus boasts noticeable differences – its plastic body structure significantly minimizes air resistance. This attribute could be a contributing factor to its exceptional range. 

Don’t forget, that the UMPC-1500 can cruise an impressive 100 kilometers, thereby entirely diminishing the need for aviation attacks. While the competitors aren’t quite up to speed in mass-producing this feature, there remains a consistent effort towards achieving this. The advanced module might probably hit the production line this upcoming summer.

The role of the Su-35 is key

Russian Air and Space Forces (VKS) received a new batch of Su-35S
Video screenshot

In summary, it’s noteworthy to mention that the Russian military has adopted the usage of precision weapons on an unprecedented scale in recent years. The unfolding of recent events has clearly justified the strategy adopted – a level of performance seldom observed before this. 

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that Unmanned Aircraft Systems [UAS] are currently being used by other operators, notably the Su-35C, which broadens its application range. The role of the Su-35 in this context is pivotal. It serves not only as a diversion while the Su-34 undertakes bombing runs but also as a “diversion-bomber,” drawing more resources from the Ukrainian military

Unquestionably, the melding of cockpit and aviation technology is a key factor for success. America recognized this truth quite some time ago. Now it’s Russia’s turn to exploit this strategy, as it’s become an obvious necessity for Moscow.

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