Russia Launching Massive 6,600-Pound Glide Bombs at Ukraine

June 23, 2024 Topic: Security Region: Europe Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: RussiaUkraineWar In UkraineMig-29Russian Air ForceMissiles

Russia Launching Massive 6,600-Pound Glide Bombs at Ukraine

The Ukrainian war effort is under severe strain as Russia intensifies its air assaults with the FAB-3000 M54, a massive 6,600-pound explosive device paired with UMPK-series glide bomb kits.


Summary and Key Points: The Ukrainian war effort is under severe strain as Russia intensifies its air assaults with the FAB-3000 M54, a massive 6,600-pound explosive device paired with UMPK-series glide bomb kits.



-These powerful bombs, which have no direct U.S. equivalent, are difficult for Ukraine's NATO-supplied air defenses to counter.

-As American defense missile supplies dwindle, the FAB-3000 M54's deployment threatens to overwhelm Ukraine's defenses, potentially tipping the strategic balance in Russia's favor.

-With Russia maintaining its territorial gains and ramping up production of these devastating weapons, the conflict's escalation underscores the urgent need for a ceasefire to prevent further Ukrainian suffering.

Russia's New 6,600-Pound Bomb Overwhelms Ukraine's Defenses

The Russians have been pounding away at NATO-provided (read, American) Ukrainian air defenses for months. This is now starting to take its toll, as the Americans are on the brink of running out of key missiles for their air defense systems. It is so bad, in fact, that the Americans have already told the Israelis and their partners in the Indo-Pacific that all missiles for US-built air defense systems are now being diverted to Ukraine. 

So much for the arsenal of democracy.

Russia Ups Its Game in Ukraine

To compound matters for the Ukrainian defenders, the Russians are now upping their game.

Recent reports from Joshua Trevithick at The War Zone as well as from the popular Fighterbomber channel on Telegram have indicated that Russia is intensifying their air assault on Ukraine by deploying the gargantuan, 6,600-pound FAB-3000 M54 explosive device fitted with a UMPK-series glide bomb kit. 

Russia’s FAB-3000 is of the largest conventional general-purpose high-explosive bombs in the Russian military. And, as Trevithick points out in his essay, “There is no direct U.S. military analog, with the largest of the three common sizes of bombs American forces employ being the 2,000-pound class, or less than a third of the size.” 

Recently, Twitter accounts following the Ukraine War posted caustic images of a three-story building in Kharkiv being leveled by what appeared to be the modified FAB-3000 M54 riding in a winged UMPK-series glide bomb kit. This has prompted rampant speculation as to what kind of Russian warplane could deploy such a devastating, heavy weapon. More importantly, though, is the impact this weapon will have on Ukraine’s defense.

After all, multiple Russian media sources have pointed out that the Russian Defense Ministry is going on a building spree for the FAB-3000 M54. Clearly, Moscow believes this weapon will give them not just a set of tactical victories over Ukraine’s military, but will ultimately help Russia achieve a strategic victory over Ukraine (which is nearer than the folks who rule Washington are aware of). 

MiG-31 Russian Air Force

Which gets us to the whole “arsenal of democracy” (or lack thereof) bit. The Ukrainians have become quite innovative over the last year or so in terms of utilizing the air defenses that NATO has provided them. Russia’s Air Force has taken a pounding (though they’ve not lost the air war). In Kharkiv especially, Ukraine has deployed its systems to prevent the kind of massacre that had befallen Kharkiv at the start of the conflict. 

Understanding the Impact of the New Threat

The deployment (and mass production) of the FAB-3000 M54 6,600-pound bomb attached to a UMPK-series glide bomb kit is something that Ukraine’s strained air defenses cannot properly defend against. The Ukraine War has entered a new phase in which the Russians will start to outmatch the strained Ukrainian air defenses and the introduction of the FAB-3000 M54 is a key component of Russia’s enhanced strategy. 

These bombs cover more area and will be very difficult to shoot down. If they’re being mass produced in the armaments factories out east, as the Russian media has suggested, then launching barrages of these behemoths at Ukrainian targets will overwhelm Ukraine’s air defenses and break the back of the entire air defense strategy. 

It was believed that the FAB-3000 M54 could only be launched by the Tu-22M3, a massive bomber that would have been needlessly placed at risk for firing such weapons on the kind of missions they’re being used to conduct. Instead, it’s believed that Russian Su-34s popped these leviathans off. 

Although, definitive information on the launching platform remains hard to ascertain. Another possible launch platform includes the Russian MiG-31K Foxhound, which can fire the 9,500-pound Kinzhal air-launched ballistic missiles. 

End the Ukraine War

A terrible turn in the Ukraine War is at hand. 

The tragedy that the Ukrainian people have been made to endure is set to continue, unless the leadership chooses peace over more war. The Russians have shown they have a seemingly bottomless ability to ravage the Ukrainians. 

What’s more, at the strategic level, after two hellacious years of warfare, the Russians still hold the bulk of the territory they started the war with whereas the Ukrainians are weakening. 

It's not going to get any better from here for Ukraine unless they choose to negotiate a ceasefire. 

Author Experience and Expertise: Brandon J. Weichert

Brandon J. Weichert, a National Interest national security analyst, is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, the Asia Times, and The-Pipeline. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life, and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy. His next book, A Disaster of Our Own Making: How the West Lost Ukraine, is due October 22 from Encounter Books. Weichert can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.

All images are Creative Commons or Shutterstock. 

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