Russian RBK-500 cluster bomb: real threat or propaganda?
Unpacking the claims of Russian RBK-500 cluster bomb being turned into a guided weapon using a UMPK module
Defense Express writes about it.
Russian sources assert that the RBK-500 cluster bomb has been turned into a guided weapon using UMPK (universal gliding and correction module), allegedly deployed in the war, including eastern Ukraine. While this claim raises concerns, Western outlets have echoed it without critical scrutiny. Defense Express explored whether the RBK-500 has indeed been adapted with a UMPK module and the broader implications of this potential transformation.
Firstly, as per the article, the RBK-500 primarily functions as a carrier for small-sized submunitions designed to hit area targets, with variations for different types of ammunition. Reports of its use, such as the RBK-500 SPBE-D in Syria, have surfaced, suggesting a range of up to 50 kilometers.
The key question emerges: Can the UMPK module be integrated into the RBK-500, transforming it into a glider? Examining the design of the RBK-500, which requires the shank to separate from the cartridge for effective deployment, and the UMPK module's construction, it seems challenging for the tail to detach mid-flight under normal circumstances, the publication notes.
Therefore, the claim of turning the RBK-500 into a glider remains unverified.
While doubts persist regarding this specific transformation, the overall threat of cluster weapons in the Russian arsenal should not be underestimated. The Tornado-S guided missile system, used by Russian forces, boasts a range of up to 130 km, armed with cluster-guided rockets like the 5М544 and 5М549. These weapons, observed in battles, outclass the RBK-500 in terms of danger, with varying capacities for cumulative-fragmentary elements.
Skepticism surrounds the alleged transformation of the RBK-500 into a glider, but the broader concern lies in the arsenal of cluster weapons at Russia's disposal, where other systems pose even greater threats than the RBK-500, the article concludes.