Dubai Airshow

Russian bomb builder shows off its target smarts

 - December 6, 2006, 12:44 PM

Stable export sales and a growing defense budget at home have helped Russian bomb maker Bazalt make its products smarter. Historically, Bazalt has specialized in free-fall and cluster bombs. Today, compact sensors and processors have given those formerly “dumb” weapons a respectable IQ. Here at the show, visitors to Dubai can see some of the company’s most advanced designs yet.

The PBK-500U glide cluster bomb dispenser (the Russian acronym translates to glide bomb cassette, 500-kg caliber) is a single-use weapon that houses either a single warhead or multiple cassette elements. Unlike the previous generation, the PBK-500U can deploy at longer distances to enable standoff attack capability for tactical aircraft acting against targets with pinpoint anti-aircraft defenses. A high-energy booster and sleeker aerodynamics have resulted in an increase in range.

The PBK-500U constitutes part of Bazalt’s munitions set for tactical aircraft units facing weak or suppressed air-defense systems. Such munitions use module/cluster structure principles and multifactor destruction effect. That means sensor-fusing, multimode warhead capability and situation-determined algorithms of deployment, depending on aircraft speed, altitude and parameters of a selected target.

Another example of Bazalt’s smart weapons line comes in the form of the RBK-500 SPBE-K cluster bomb dispenser (RBK stands for expendable bomb cassette), due to finish acceptance trials in 2006. The dispenser contains 15 SPBE-K self-homing smart-fusing elements capable of defeating modern armored vehicles in jamming and natural interference conditions. The built-in infrared sensor operates in two frequencies that allow it to home-in on vehicles whose engines are shut off.

The ODAB-500PMV vacuum aviation bomb (with blast effect equating to 2,200 pounds of high-explosive charge) can be deployed from lightweight airplanes and helicopters, as opposed to the previous ODAB-500PM model, which was limited to tactical fighters and a narrow altitude spectrum of about 3,300 feet. Smart fusing enables the new bomb to deploy from altitudes of up to 39,370 feet and at speeds of between 27 and 810 knots.?