The KAB-500S high explosive bombs, equipped with a satellite-based guidance system, have been tested by the Russian Aerospace Forces in real combat conditions in Syria.
In 2015-2016, the Russian Aerospace Forces for the first time used the newest regulated ammunitions, the KAB-500S high explosive bombs, equipped with a satellite-based guidance system in real combat conditions in Syria.
These precision-guided ammunitions that are used on the principle of ‘throw off-and-forget,’ are able to hit various targets at any time of day and in any weather, ensuring a high precision of hitting a target. During airstrike operations, such bombs destroyed important targets, such as buildings, where leaders of various terrorist groups met.
In Syria the KAB-500S high explosive bombs were usually carried by the Su-34 strike fighters, although the Su-24M, the Su-30SM, the Su-35 and the MiG-35 are also capable to use these bombs, which can be used both at high altitudes, and at a height just of 550 meters.
During the combat use, the target accuracy exceeded characteristics, which were previously declared. So, according to representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry, the maximum swerve from the aiming point was no more than five meters.
Reportedly, the KAB-250C newest air bomb, created for the Russian fifth generation fighter jet, was also used in Syria. As experts noted, the latest technologies have been used in the bomb, and, thus, even greater precision characteristics have been reached.
The KAB-500S seems (from public specs) to be the Russian equivalent of the common U.S.1000 lb. JDAM GBU-32(V)xB series. The most obvious difference is that the U.S. JDAMs use bolt-on guidance packages (GPS seeker/guidance heads and tail assemblies) on a basic Mk-83 bomb while the KAB-500S is produced as an integrated, complete unit. The difference is cosmetic – both have similar capabilities. It will be interesting to hear what fuzing options Russia has decided to use – everyone is just guessing today.
U.S. 1000 lb. JDAMs unit cost is roughly $30K each. Russia’s KAB-500S is presumably far cheaper for them to produce (like nearly every munition compared to the U.S. equivalent).