Conflict Armament Research (CAR), an independent organization that investigates arms trafficking and use in various conflicts around the world, uncovers the use of ‘Universal Planning and Correction’ modules (UMPK) attached to Russian air-dropped munitions in Ukraine.
An inertial navigation system (INS) is comprised of an IMU, a global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receiver and sensor fusion software. These components work together to calculate position, orientation, and velocity to deliver critical navigation information in GNSS-denied areas like urban canyons, bridges, tunnels, mountains, parking garages and dense forests.
The UMPK is a wing kit/guidance module installed on general-purpose “dumb” bombs and commonly referred to as the “Russian JDAM.”
CAR’s investigation in Ukraine has discovered elements of two UMPK modules, revealing their pivotal role in extending the range and precision of Russian general-purpose air-dropped munitions.
These modules, attached to FAB-250 or FAB-500 bombs, serve as add-ons, enabling Russian bombers to minimize engagement risks posed by Ukrainian air defenses along the front lines. While initially reported in early 2023, the use of these ‘dumb’ bombs has now become a more regular feature in the ongoing conflict.
The documented UMPK modules, recovered in May and November 2023, display attempts to conceal their origins, with deliberately erased marks on critical components. CAR’s findings highlight the integration of a Kometa satellite navigation module within these modules, indicating a widespread use of electronic components produced outside Russia.
The documentation by CAR reveals an evolutionary leap in Russian weapon deployment strategies, showcasing a deliberate shift towards cost-effective methods. This involves the utilization of non-domestic commercial components to retrofit older air-delivered ordnance. This modification elevates the munitions’ engagement range and accuracy, while strategically enabling bombers to evade Ukrainian air defense systems.
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Furthermore, CAR’s findings underscore the deliberate removal of identifying marks from various components within these modules. This concerted erasure indicates a strategic ploy aimed at impeding efforts to trace technology back to sources beyond the Russian Federation. It also aims to alert unaware manufacturers about the potential diversion of their products into Russian weapon systems deployed in the Ukrainian conflict zone.
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