Russia dropped ODAB-1500 vacuum bomb producing 120 atm pressure

The Russian military is pushing forward in the northern Kharkiv region, with the city of Volchansk becoming the focal point of intense combat. Today, May 21, ANNA News reported that the Ukrainian forces entrenched in the city are facing relentless artillery and air strikes.

Russia dropped ODAB-1500 vacuum bomb producing 120 atm pressure
Video screenshot

A variety of munitions are being deployed to target these positions. Notably, for the first time in this conflict, a volume-detonating bomb, the ODAB-1500, was utilized. According to ANNA News, this bomb struck a temporary deployment point of the Ukrainian military.

The impact resulted in significant damage to the building and inflicted casualties on the personnel inside due to the intense blast wave. The exact losses are still being assessed. A video of the strike has been shared on the Telegram channel Severen Veter [North Wind]. While the exact timing of the strike wasn’t mentioned, it was confirmed that the Russian air force executed the attack.

Russia dropped ODAB-1500 vacuum bomb producing 120 atm pressure
Video screenshot

Up to 120 atm pressure

The ODAB-1500 aviation bombs have two fuses that automatically activate a set time after release. Upon reaching the target, the initial fuse detonates a dispersing charge. This breaks up the warhead and releases liquid fuel, creating a fuel-air cloud. After a short interval, the second fuse sets off.

At this point, the cloud detonates, generating a high-power shockwave that results in a powerful explosion. The pressure at the epicenter can skyrocket to between 90-120 atmospheres, which makes this weapon particularly destructive. The sudden spike in pressure can cause serious internal injuries to nearby enemy personnel.

‘Nuclear Sponge’

The Russian Aerospace Forces [VKS] have conducted their second airstrike using the ODAB-1500 air bomb within just two weeks. On May 9, which coincides with Russia’s Victory Day celebration, the VKS deployed this massive, one-and-a-half-ton volume-detonating bomb against equipment warehouses and personnel at a refractory plant site in Chasov Yar. Footage of the explosion soon surfaced online. 

The detonation of such a large-caliber bomb was vividly captured in both optical and infrared spectrums. A towering mushroom cloud of fire and smoke ascended from the workshop where the bomb, featuring a guidance and planning module, hit its target. The scene bore a striking resemblance to the aftermath of a nuclear blast. 

The immense force of the ODAB-1500 explosion was likely compounded by the detonation of ammunition and fuel stored within the building, resulting in the dramatic visuals.

Russia dropped ODAB-1500 vacuum bomb producing 120 atm pressure
Video screenshot

What is ODAB-1500

Russia developed the ODAB-1500, a formidable thermobaric bomb designed to unleash a high-temperature blast followed by a powerful pressure wave. Often termed a fuel-air explosive [FAE], this weapon excels at targeting fortified positions, bunkers, and even exposed personnel.  

The ODAB-1500 measures around 4.5 meters [14.8 ft] in length and approximately 0.58 meters [1.9 ft] in diameter, weighing about 1,500 kilograms [3,307 pounds]. The fuel mixture, which creates its devastating thermobaric effect, constitutes a substantial portion of this weight.  

Russia dropped ODAB-1500 vacuum bomb producing 120 atm pressure
Photo credit: Twitter

Aircraft like the Su-24 or Su-34 typically deploy the ODAB-1500, which reaches its target using a combination of inertial navigation and laser guidance systems. The military reserves this bomb for crucial strategic strikes where maximum destruction is the objective.

2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine

On February 21, 2022, Russia stated that its border facility was attacked by Ukrainian forces, resulting in the deaths of five Ukrainian fighters. However, Ukraine quickly dismissed these allegations, labeling them as ‘false flags’.

Russian Su-34s bombed pro-Turkish positions in Idlib, Syria
Photo credit: Wikipedia

In a notable move on the same day, Russia announced it officially recognized the self-proclaimed areas of DPR and LPR. Interestingly, according to Russian President Putin, this recognition covered all the Ukrainian regions. Following this declaration, Putin sent a battalion of Russia’s military forces, tanks included, into these areas.

Fast forward to February 24, 2022, global headlines were dominated by a significant incident. Putin commanded a forceful military assault on Ukraine. Led by Russia’s impressive Armed Forces positioned at the Ukrainian border, this assault wasn’t spontaneous but a premeditated action. Despite the circumstances resembling a war, the Russian government refrains from using this term. They’d rather refer to it as a “special military operation”.


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