Russia is using old, dumb bombs, making the Syrian air war even more brutal

Russia possesses plenty of air-to-ground weapons and so does not need to resort to barrel bombs. But its own inaccurate attacks could have the same terrible effect as the Assad regime’s DIY munitions. A video of the initial Russian attacks that the Kremlin released on Sept. 30 appears to depict the small, scattered blasts of a cluster bomb…

To be clear, Russian pilots couldn’t be more accurate in their attacks even if they wanted to. While the United States and its allies have invested billions of dollars in precision munitions and the aerial sensors to guide them, Russia has continued to rely on mostly unguided weapons for air-to-ground attacks.

The Center for Analysis of Strategies and Tactics, a Moscow think tank, has criticized the Russian government for its “strange” and “unacceptable” failure to develop satellite-guided bombs and new long-range precision air-to-ground missiles, plus the targeting systems to direct them. “Russian air force bombers and tactical fighters rely on air-to-surface targeting technologies that are 30 years old,” Alexander Mladenov, a Russian aviation expert, pointed out in Combat Aircraft magazine.