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As their stockpile of missiles runs out, the Russians have begun to adapt old Soviet-era bombs, turning them into controllable ones.

To deal with this threat, the Ukrainians need modern fighter jets.

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Russia uses aerial bombs to strike targets in Syria and Chechnya.

Last year, the Russians also used them during the bombing of Kharkiv, Sumy, Izyum and Chernigov, and also during the siege of Mariupol.

Today, according to the Ukrainian authorities, Russia attacked the city of Kherson and the border regions of the country with Russia and Belarus with guided bombs.

"Guided aerial bombs are another means used by Russian terrorists to kill Ukrainian civilians. Enemy air forces use them in all sections of the front - shelling civilian infrastructure and killing people," the head of the Ukrainian presidential administration, Andriy Yermak, recently wrote in Telegram .

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Before such bombs were rarely used, but now it happens almost every day.

In early April, the Ukrainian Air Force reported that Russia was using up to 20 guided aerial bombs a day along the entire front line.

"The Russians are dropping more and more such bombs, because their stocks of missiles are already running out. There are very few left, so they switched to cheap aerial bombs," Yury Ikhnat, spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, told DV, "Dnevnik" reports.

What are guided bombs?

There are two types of Russian guided aerial bombs, Ukrainian experts explain.

The first type is UPAB-1500B, which works with a satellite navigation system.

The guided bomb is designed to attack particularly robust targets on land or in water, such as reinforced concrete shelters, command posts, railway bridges, military or transport ships.

These bombs were developed by Russian engineers not long ago, but according to experts, they have not yet been used on a large scale due to their extremely expensive production.

For the most part, however, the Russian military already uses in Ukraine old, originally designed for unguided, high-explosive bombs of the FAB type, weighing 500, 1,000 or 1,500 kilograms.

According to experts, they are being turned into guided bombs by adding wings and GPS navigation.

Oleh Katkov, editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian publication "Defense Express", points out that their production is fast and cheap.

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This is also confirmed by the military expert from the Ukrainian Security Research Center "Dmitry Tymchuk" Oleksandr Kovalenko.

"We can quickly produce such modules for these bombs, of which there are still many in stock," he says.

According to him, Russia can continue to attack Ukraine with these old Soviet bombs for a long time.

However, Kovalenko points out that the quality of the guided bombs is poor because the wings are simply welded to a scrap piece of iron.

Defense against guided bombs is complex

Carriers of guided aerial bombs can be fighters Su-30, Su-35, Su-24, Su-34, as well as military helicopters.

According to Yury Ikhnat, Russian planes stopped flying into Ukraine-controlled territory just a month after the start of the large-scale invasion.

Therefore, the Russians can launch guided bombs only from their territory up to the border with Ukraine or from the temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories along the front line.

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"Russian planes can launch these guided bombs at a distance of 50 to 70 km. The distance depends on the altitude and speed of the plane and how close the plane flies to the border or the front line. But they don't fly close to the border itself because they know, that they can be shot down. The higher the plane rises, the easier it is to be detected by our radar stations," emphasizes the spokesman of the Ukrainian Air Force.

To defend against Russian guided bombs, Ukraine currently uses Soviet anti-aircraft missile systems, in particular the Buk or S-300 type, but this is very ineffective because it is quite difficult to hit an aerial bomb with a missile.

"The anti-aircraft missile does not hit the object itself, but explodes next to it and pierces it with debris. This usually does not work with bombs," explains Yury Ikhnat and emphasizes that Ukraine needs modern air defense systems, especially the "Patriot" type and SAMP-T to be able to destroy guided bombs.

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But Ukraine does not have enough air defense systems to protect the entire front line or the border with Russia or Belarus, experts say.

In addition, modern systems cannot be located near the front line, because Russian troops will try to destroy them immediately - even if only for propaganda reasons, emphasizes Oleg Katkov.

"That would be the number one target for the Russians. They would throw everything they have at the Patriot system."

He believes that the Russians would even be willing to sacrifice their fighter jets if only to inflict significant losses on Ukraine.

Ukraine needs modern fighters

According to experts, modern F-16 fighters can best protect Ukraine from guided bombs.

"Bombs are very difficult to hit, so it is easier to destroy the carrier itself, i.e. the Russian planes. To defend itself, Ukraine needs fighters with a range of more than a hundred kilometers. Such are the F- 16, as well as Eurofighter Typhoon and Rafale multirole fighter jets, says Oleksandr Kovalenko. He is convinced that it is impossible to protect the border areas and areas along the front line from Russian guided bombs until Ukraine has the appropriate fighters .

Russian invasion of Ukraine