Russia has placed emphasis on targeting

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

Turkey’s rise to Drone Superpower has been driven by extensive media coverage, while Russian developments have taken place in the shadows:

A video from December 19 shows an S-70 Okhotnik (“Hunter”) stealth combat drone dropping a bomb. The Okhotnik has been under development since 2011, so this is one of those overdue projects finally beginning to deliver. Interestingly, the latest version appears to be stealthier than the initial design.

Equally interesting that it scores a direct hit on a target from altitude with an unguided, ‘dumb’ bomb. While Western powers rely on expensive precision weapons. Russia has placed emphasis on targeting. The Okhotnik is equipped with a version of the SVP-24 aiming system developed for the Su-24 tactical bomber. This is able to take into account speed, altitude, wind, humidity and other factors and time bomb release to achieve what is claimed to be comparable accuracy to precision munitions – the makers say it can hit to within three-to-five meters.

Precision bomb aiming could allow Russian drones to hit large numbers of targets with cheap munitions like the unguided FAB-500 1,00-pounder in the video, rather than expending their limited stocks of smart bombs. They may also be able to strike accurately in conditions of intense GPS jamming (a feature of Russian combat operations) which could make JDAM-type GPS-guided weapons to veer off course.

I’ve mentioned Russia’s Special Computing Subsystem 24 before:

Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and losing the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.


  1. Gavin Longmuir says:

    One thing to note about the competing US approach of putting the intelligence on the bomb (JDAM) is that key parts of the JDAM are made in Switzerland. As the US found out in Iraq, this effectively gives Switzerland a veto over continued use of JDAMs — by refusing to continue exporting those parts to a US which has now lost the ability to manufacture such equipment.

    So — what happens when Biden’s handlers start a war in Ukraine, and Switzerland throws up its hands in horror?

    Dangerous times. Resident Biden will quickly be faced in any conflict involving Russia or China (or, likely, both at the same time) of either escalating to nuclear or accepting a disgraceful defeat.

    As for what support Biden could expect from the rest of the world in any future conflict, just look at what is happening with the UAE, an advanced country which has long been on the US side. It has just cancelled an order for F-35s and has ignored the US by adopting China-manufactured 5G. Talk about a straw in the wind!

  2. Bile Jones says:

    One is reminded of Russia’s solution to writing in zero gravity. NASA pissed away $1 Million plus developing a pen. The Russians use a pencil.

  3. Cassander says:

    “Instead of mounting a kit on an old bomb and lose the kit every time, the Russians mounted a JDAM-like kit, but on the airplane.”

    This is a much, much worse solution, and the sort of thing you’d only do if you can’t afford to put a JDAM kit on every bomb. It’s also the sort of solution the US was using in the 60s:

  4. Brutus says:

    The SVP-24 aiming system sounds a lot like the Norden bomb site of WWII, which didn’t have a stellar record of real world accuracy.

  5. VXXC says:

    For a few hundred dollars you can buy an ATN or other brand scope on Amazon that does this for bullets. It’s quite doable for bombs.

  6. Sam J. says:

    Just a odd bit of info the bombing computer and inertial navigation from the A-6 was used in the F-117.

    To cover up why the system was being maintained in Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada they took one A-7 plane and would taxi it back and forth on the parking ramp and fly it every so often. It had a rocket looking thing under the pilots cockpit with a red flashing light on the tip and a radioactive symbol on the missile. The base commander in a speech said there were no A-7′s on Nellis AFB.

    We all wondered what the hell this was about. Now we had Navy and Marine corp planes on occasion for training but nothing like this.

    Later I read Ben Rich’s book about the Skunk Works and he let out that little tidbit of info on the A-7 bombing systems being used and I immediately knew what had happened. They were spoofing anyone who was tracking maintenance systems.

    That’s a fairly deep level of trickery. No wonder black programs cost so much if they do that sort of thing often.

    As for the SVP-24 aiming system the best way to make something like this work is to dive and point the bomb right at what you want to bomb. A computer tracks when to let go of the bomb after the pilot pushes the button to aim it where he wants it to go. They also have where they can point at a target far away, go level, then pull up rapidly and when the arc is correct it will let the bomb go and lob it to the target. As you can imagine wind and little inaccuracies affect the aiming.

    Laser guided or computer directed bombs with the package on the bomb are very cost effective for high value targets.

    “…The most dramatic example was the Thanh Hoa Bridge, 70 miles south of Hanoi, a critical crossing point over the Red River. Starting in 1965, U.S. pilots had flown 871 sorties against it, losing 11 planes without managing to put it out of commission. In 1972 the “Dragon’s Jaw” bridge was attacked with Paveway bombs, and 14 jets managed to do what the previous 871 had not: drop the span, and cut a critical North Vietnamese supply artery….”

    “…871 sorties against it, losing 11 planes…”

    If that is not cost effective I don’t know what is.

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