​The UK Defense Intelligence: russia Ramps Up Use of RBK-500 Cluster Munitions in Ukraine

The RBK-500 cluster munition bomb / open source
The RBK-500 cluster munition bomb / open source

The increased use of cluster munitions by russia is a worrying development

Through November 2023, the russian Air Force has likely started to more frequently employ the RBK-500 500 kg cluster munition bomb. Depending on the variant, each RBK-500 ejects between approximately 100 and 350 sub-munitions. In turn, each sub-munition typically detonates with either hundreds of high-velocity fragments, or a single, larger anti-tank charge, the UK Defense Intelligence reports.

The RBK-500 bombs are reported to have been deployed against Ukrainian forces on the Vuhledar axis and near Avdiivka, both in Donetsk region. There is a realistic possibility that, as with other air-dropped bombs, russia has likely recently integrated an UMPC guided stand-off glide kit with the RBK-500 bomb. This allows the carrying aircraft to release the munition many kilometres away from the target.

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Russia’s glide bomb kits have generally achieved poor accuracy. However, with its large number of sub-munitions, a single RBK-500 can cause effects over an area of several hundred metres, increasing the chance of inflicting at least some damage on the intended target.

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