Russian jets are dropping bombs rejigged with guidance systems that are delivering ‘devastating hits’ upon Ukrainian lines, report says

Story by (Alia Shoaib) • 12h ago

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Russian jets are dropping bombs rejigged with guidance systems that are delivering ‘devastating hits’ upon Ukrainian lines, report says

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A member of the Ukrainian White Angels Special Police Team walks looks at the debris of a residential building, destroyed following an air strike in the frontline town of Avdiivka, Donetsk region on April 10, 2023, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images© Genya Savilov/AFP via Getty Images

  •  Russia is modifying regular bombs to have guidance systems, a report says.
  • They are a cheap and effective substitute for expensive guided missiles, which Russia’s stock of is low.
  • Ukraine has been calling for Western fighter jets in order to counter Russia’s bombardment.

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1 of 9 Photos in Gallery©AP Photo/LIBKOS

These battles and major moments have shaped a brutal year of war in Ukraine

  • One year of war in Ukraine has devastated cities and left thousands of soldiers and civilians dead.
  • The conflict has ebbed and flowed in multiple phases, as both sides have gained and lost territory.
  • Here are the important fights and moments that have shaped a year of war.

When Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his invasion of Ukraine a year ago, he expected to quickly capture Kyiv in a knockout blow against his eastern European neighbor. 

But right from the start, things went sideways for Russia due to early blunders and a stiff Ukrainian resistance that shocked both Moscow and the Western leaders whose intelligence agencies predicted Kyiv would fall in a matter of days. 

Still, Russia saw some early gains, but its forces have been losing ground for months. A new Russian offensive is underway, but so far, little has come of it as Ukraine continues to hold the line.

Over the past year, cities and towns have been flattened, and the death toll continues to rise. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians have been killed, and both militaries have suffered well over 100,000 casualties.

The war has spiraled into a grinding and bloody affair being played out in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. NATO is warning that the conflict has turned into a race for logistics as Russia throws poorly trained soldiers at the front lines to increase offensive pressure with limited success and Ukraine hopes it can regain momentum once it has an influx of heavy and advanced Western-made weaponry

Here are some of the significant battles and major moments that have shaped the past year of brutal war in Ukraine and brought it to where it is today.See More

Russia is modifying simple bombs to equip them with guidance systems, turning them into cheap and effective substitutes for expensive guided missiles.

The regular bombs appear to be being converted to smart ones using UMPK (unified module for gliding and guidance) systems, according to Illia Ponomarenko of the Kyiv Independent.

Ponomarenko wrote that the upgraded guided or gliding bombs pose “an especially serious threat to Ukraine” that can “deliver devastating hits upon Ukrainian lines and the rear front.”

This system can be used to equip old Soviet FAB-500М-62 gravity bombs, which Russia has an abundant supply of, with a simple satellite guidance system and “wings,” according to the outlet. 

In March, Russia effectively used the modified bombs to bombard Ukrainian defenses of Avdiivka in Donetsk.

The kit costs less than 2 million roubles, around $24,000, to produce, making it far cheaper than missiles and other weapons purchased from overseas, according to Russian media.

Related video: Ukraine Govt Official: Seven missiles fired from Russia (WION)

including a toddler in eastern Ukraine.

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By comparison, a single Kalibr cruise missile, which Russia had been using widely in its invasion of Ukraine, is worth nearly $6.5 million.

The system is similar to the JDAM-ER kits that the US has sent to Ukraine, which converts existing unguided bombs into precision-guided munitions.

Although Russia has not admitted to be serially producing the UMPK kits, this would be a convenient alternative to expensive cruise and ballistic missiles, its stock of which is now largely depleted.

These munitions can have an effective range of over 50 kilometers, or around 31 miles, according to Ukrainian air force estimates, the Kyiv Independent said.

Ukraine’s air force estimates that up to 20 guided bomb hits are registered daily all along the front line, carried by Russian Su-34 and Sukhoi Su-35 jets and launched from upper altitudes, according to the paper.

The Sukhoi Su-34 jet fighter-bomber of Russian Air Force. Images Group via Getty Images© Images Group via Getty Images

In order to combat the Russian bombardment, Ukraine needs to defend against the jets using air defense systems such as the S-300.

The recently leaked Pentagon documents warned that Kyiv’s stock of S-300 is depleted and could run out in May.

Several Patriot missile defense systems arrived in Ukraine on Wednesday, sent from Western allies. Ukraine has also been scrambling to find more ammunition for its air-defense weapons, which have been vital to defend against Russias aircraft.

Ukraine has also been calling for its Western allies to send fighter jets to defend against Russia’s attacks, as its Mikoyan MiG-29 and Sukhoi Su-27 are outdated and lack modern longer, range air-to-air missiles.

Germany this week approved Poland’s request to transfer five MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.

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