Video: RuAF tests concrete-piercing bomb dropped by Su-30SM2

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The Russian Armed Forces are currently testing advanced concrete-penetrating bombs with Su-30SM2 fighter jets in the Ukrainian battlefield. The TV channel “Zvezda” recently released a video showcasing these trials.

10+ Russian Su-30s began tactical rehearsals over Kaliningrad - Su-30SM2
Photo credit: Soldar

Oleg Pankov, the chief designer behind the Su-30 program, highlighted the fighter’s new weapons and radar systems, which enhance its capabilities and allow pilots to counter Patriot air defense systems effectively. He mentioned that these bombs detonate several minutes after embedding themselves into the ground. Pankov also pointed out that a military unit managed to defeat an American Patriot air defense system just three days after receiving the upgraded Su-30 jets.

Notably, on July 4, former State Department official and ex-US Navy Captain Matthew Ho remarked that the Russian military holds a distinct advantage over the US Armed Forces. According to Ho, the conflict in Ukraine has been a stern test for the Russian forces, prompting them to learn from their experiences and improve. As a result, the Russian army has become notably more battle-hardened.

Belarus unleashes a Su-30SM in surprise combat readiness drill
Photo by Sergei Bobylev

A former Marine points out that the US military’s advancements are lacking in certain areas. Washington, while backing Ukraine, seems to overlook the Ukrainian armed forces’ strategic errors and might even be encouraging them inadvertently. He also highlighted that much of the US aid to Kyiv is in the form of equipment that is not fully effective due to its inefficient deployment.

Anti-concrete bombs, also known as bunker busters, are designed to penetrate hardened targets such as underground bunkers or reinforced concrete structures before detonating. This capability is achieved through a combination of advanced materials, engineering, and delayed fusing mechanisms.

The bomb’s casing is typically made from high-strength steel or other durable materials that can withstand the initial impact with the ground or concrete. This allows the bomb to maintain its structural integrity as it penetrates the target.

Video: RuAF tests concrete-piercing bomb dropped by Su-30SM2 - BetAB-500ShP
Photo credit: Russian MoD

Upon impact, the bomb’s kinetic energy, combined with its pointed or specially shaped nose, helps it to burrow through the surface material. The bomb’s design ensures that it can penetrate several meters of earth or concrete before coming to a stop.

Inside the bomb, a delayed-action fuse is employed. This fuse is set to detonate the explosive charge after a predetermined amount of time, allowing the bomb to reach a deeper position within the target. The delay can be adjusted based on the expected depth of penetration.

Once the bomb has penetrated to the desired depth, the delayed fuse triggers the detonation of the explosive charge. The explosion occurs within the target, maximizing the destructive effect by creating shockwaves and pressure that can collapse structures or neutralize underground facilities.

Russian FAB-500 bomb fell at 10:30am but detonated at 3:00pm
YouTube video screenshot

It is not known which model of anti-concrete bomb the Russians tested. It may be one of the existing ones or a new one. If it is one of the existing ones, here are the possible candidates from the video.

One of the known anti-concrete bombs used by Russian combat aviation is the BETAB series. The BETAB-500, for instance, is designed to penetrate reinforced concrete structures, such as bunkers and command centers. It utilizes a delayed-action fuse to ensure that it penetrates deeply before detonation, maximizing its destructive capability against hardened targets.

Another significant anti-concrete bomb is the KAB-1500L-Pr. This is a laser-guided bomb that combines precision with powerful penetration capabilities. It is designed to destroy fortified structures and underground facilities. The laser guidance system allows for high accuracy, making it effective against specific, high-value targets.

Su-34 may have 'anomalously dropped' a FAB-500M62 bomb on Belgorod
Photo by VitalyKuzmin

The FAB-500 series also includes variants that are adapted for anti-concrete roles. These bombs are generally free-fall and unguided but have modifications that allow them to be effective against hardened structures. They are typically used in scenarios where precision is less critical, but destructive power is paramount.

Additionally, the ODAB-500PMV is an air-delivered bomb that, while primarily designed as a fuel-air explosive, can also be effective against concrete structures due to its massive blast wave. The overpressure generated by the explosion can cause significant damage to fortified buildings and bunkers.

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