Russia converts conventional RBK-500 cluster bombs into JDAM glide bombs
The use of RBK-500 with JDAM allows the Russian army to drop these bombs outside the range of Ukraine's main air defense assets
Defense Express reported this.
In November-December 2023, media reported that the Russian Federation had begun using aircraft cluster bombs that could be guided. Given that the Russian arsenal includes both specially designed planning bombs such as RBK-500U and well-known JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) kits, the question remained as to what kind of bombs the Russian troops were using.
The difference between these options is quite significant, as the first involves a specially created separate and new munition that must be produced from scratch. The second option involves the installation of a kit on the existing RBK-500 cluster bombs, which is mass-produced in the town of Korolev near Moscow.
But given the photos that have appeared online, it is possible to say that the Russian Federation did install the JDAM on a conventional cluster bomb. Given the labeling of the planning kit itself, UMPK500, it is most likely an RBK-500. But it should be noted that there is a smaller version of this cluster bomb, the RBK-250.
The type of RBK-500 munition, according to the markings, is ShOAB-0.5 anti-personnel cluster submunitions. Each such bomb is equipped with 650 such submunitions weighing 417 grams, which contain ready-made warheads in the form of 304 steel balls and a 40-gram powder charge.
The bomb is deployed by detaching the tail section. And despite its non-aerodynamic shape, the RBK-500 can be used with a nose fairing. The RBK-500 can also be equipped with high-explosive or concrete-piercing submunitions - up to 10 rounds, and anti-tank submunitions - 15 rounds.
“Thus, the appearance of the RBK-500 with the JDAM in Russia's arsenal is a significant threat, as it is a cheap means of delivering cluster munitions over long distances without entering the area of operation of air defense systems. It is not known how far the RBK-500 with the JDAM can fly, but an air-launched high-explosive bomb can fly to a range of 60-70 km,” Defense Express notes.
At the same time, the use of cluster munitions to some extent eliminates the issue of accuracy, and the number of RBK-500s with JDAMs is a matter of reliability.