“It’s evolution, countermeasures, evolution, countermeasures,” Colonel Smazhnyi added. “It’s a nonstop course of, sadly.”
In accordance with Ukrainian and American officers, the Russians have retrofitted a number of the bombs with satellite tv for pc navigation techniques and wings that stretch their vary, turning an old school weapon, which Moscow has hundreds of, right into a extra fashionable glide bomb.
The Russians are deploying these glide bombs from Su-34 and Su-35 jets, their top-of the-line warplanes, mentioned a U.S. Protection Division official who spoke on the situation of anonymity given the sensitivity of the subject. Zooming over Russian-controlled territory, the place Ukrainian air defenses don’t attain, the warplanes launch the bombs, which glide 20 miles or extra, crossing the frontline after which putting Ukrainian territory.
These bombs are even tougher to hit than the hypersonic Kinzhal missiles that the Ukrainians claim to have destroyed not too long ago with American Patriot air protection techniques.
“A Kinzhal has an extended flight time at excessive altitudes, so it’s simpler to detect and monitor,” mentioned Ian Williams, deputy director of the Missile Defense Project on the Middle for Strategic and Worldwide Research, a Washington suppose tank. Glide bombs, however, weren’t a weapon that the Patriot system was designed to counter, he mentioned.
Russian army bloggers have boasted concerning the prowess of their glide bombs, posting videos and comments beginning in early January. One Russian analyst provided detailed information on Russia’s growth of them going again to the early 2000s and mentioned their use was “a step in the suitable route.”
There have been some current mishaps. In late April, a Russian warplane, apparently headed for Ukraine, accidentally dropped a bomb on Belgorod, a Russian metropolis close to the border. Nobody was killed, Russian officers mentioned, however days later, Russian media reported that two extra unexploded plane bombs had been found in the identical space. It’s not clear whether or not these have been old school bombs or the newer gliding variations.