Russia to Mass Produce Cluster ‘Glide’ Munition in 2024

Russia will begin producing a cluster “glide” bomb in 2024.

The first batch of Drel bombs will be produced this year, TASS reported, citing Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec.

“To date, the product has passed all types of tests specified by the customer,” the Russian state-owned outlet quoted Rostec as saying, adding that warheads are being developed.

Drel mass production is accompanied by the reported induction of around 10,000 S-8KL guided cluster aviation munitions in 2024.

‘Smart’ Munition

Work on the Drel was announced in 2016, with tests and evaluations completed in 2023.

The 540-kilogram (1,190-pound) munition consists of 15 “smart” submunitions capable of “independently flying the required distance to the target and open above it at the right moment,” TASS explained.

“If the destructive element does not work on a given target, it will self-destruct after a certain time.”

The inertial and GPS/GLONASS-guided munition features a “friend or foe” identification system to minimize friendly fire.

Stand-Off Range

The weapon is dropped from an altitude of 14 kilometers (8.7 miles) and can glide up to 50 kilometers (31 miles).

It is designed to destroy targets such as armored vehicles, ground-based radar stations, power plant control centers, and anti-aircraft missile systems. 

Additional features include stealth and electronic warfare resistance.

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