Sunday 14 April 2013

Parachute Retarded Bombs Deployed In Syria

Over the past few months a new family of bombs have been deployed in Syria, with the following videos giving clear examples of them at work

At the same time a number of videos have been appearing showing the remains of parachutes in areas these bombs have been used, for example

The remains of the bombs used have been harder to track down, with this being the one example I've been able to find

This has complicated finding the specific type of bomb used, but I'm fairly certain the bombs used belong to a family of parachute retarded FAB-500 high explosive bombs, which include the FAB-500 SH, FAB-500 SHN, and FAB-500 SHL, examples of which are shown below

FAB-500 SH
Based off the configuration of the tail-fin in the video showing the remains of one of these bombs, it seems the most likely match in that instance is the FAB-500 SHL, although it's impossible to know if other examples have been used.  It's also worth keeping in mind smaller and larger versions of these bombs also exist.

What's very interesting is what these bombs are used for.  Historically, as air defence systems have become increasingly sophisticated, it became widely accepted that to counter this bombs should be delivered at extremely low altitudes.  Standard bombs delivered in this way risked damaging the plane dropping them, so parachutes were added to slow the descent of the bomb.  So it would appear the use of these bombs is a reaction to the opposition's improving air-defences, especially as it's clear that in recent months MANPADS are playing an increasingly important role in the opposition air-defences.

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Video Shows Captured SA-16 And SA-24 Surface To Air Missiles
Unexploded Cluster Bomblets Repurposed As DIY Rocket Warheads

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