Glide bomb

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A glide bomb is a conventional "dumb bomb" or "gravity bomb" with attached wings that make the bomb glide farther from its original aerial drop point.

During the Special Military Operation on the territory of Ukraine in 2020s, the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation converted thousands of conventional 500kg, 1000kg, and 1500kg gravity bombs from an enormous stockpile built up since the 1960s, with a "glide kit", attaching wings that unfold after being dropped and adding a precision guidance system in a nose kit.[1] The Russian modified glide bombs have an advantage over Western cruise missiles, in that none of its weight is wasted on carrying an expensive engine and fuel, they carry a very large warhead, and are relatively cheap in comparison to Western cruise missiles. They have been called the Russian counterpart of the US JDAM, only much less expensive.[2]

The arsenal consists of 50 kg FAB-50 to the FAB-500, the FAB-2000, FAB-3000, FAB-5000, and the monstrous FAB-9000, which features a conventional explosive charge of about 4,300 kg of TNT – about half the blast yield caused by the W54 – the world’s smallest tactical nuclear bomb.

The FAB-1500 was first introduced in 1954, and comes packed with 675 kg of TNT – enough to level a fortification or bunker and leave a crater up to 20 meters deep, smash through up to three meters of reinforced concrete, and cause destruction across an area up to 500 meters.

The FAB 500 can travel up to 100 km, can be fired from behind Russian defensives lines, while the aircraft delivery vehicle is not exposed to enemy air defense systems.[3] The FAB-1500s can reportedly be launched up to 50 km from the target and up to 10 km up, and be carried both by strategic bombers, like the Tupolev Tu-95 and the Tupolev Tu-160, and by tactical strike jets like the Sukhoi Su-27 and Sukhoi Su-34.

The FAB-500 has a cost of US $3,200 apiece, with the addition of the UMPK guidance kit adding 30 to 50 percent to the cost, compared with the American equivalent by weight Tomahawk cruise missile with a cost of US $720,000.[4]

Various versions of the Russian glide bomb were used to devastating effect in the NATO war in Ukraine.[5]