Russian Su-34 and Su-57 have begun utilizing GROM glide munition.
Artist's rendering of the Su-57

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – Russian fighters have started using the new GROM-32 missile glide. This is apparent from various sources, including photographic evidence from the war in Ukraine. 

According to the manufacturer, the new ammunition is designed to arm all types of aircraft. This includes all Sukhoi and Mikoyan fighters, fighter-bombers such as the Su-34, as well as the Russian Su-57 stealth fighter. They can be attached to aircraft launchers or ejection devices, and not just external hardpoints, but internal compartments as well.

The GROM-32 glide missile is actually a constructor, literally. It is based on several basic elements that can be combined in one way or another during the production process, giving rise to different products for certain purposes and tasks.

modules and warheads

The new Russian missile includes a basic warhead module. The warhead can be a classic HE or volume detonator. Its weight reaches 315 kilograms, which is quite a lot for a planning bomb.

 However, such a charge is not always enough, and here the unique character of the GROM-32 comes to the rescue – the additional warhead module. It sits behind the main one and is designed to increase spin thanks to the additional 165 kg, which is almost half a ton in total.

However, this rocket allows increases not only the effect of detonation but also changes the charge. Russian experts claim that thermobaric options can replace charging. If there is a threat to use long-range anti-aircraft weapons, such as Patriot or NASAMS, the additional warhead can be safely replaced by the so-called MDU or propulsion unit.

operating range

The new missile, under the wings of Russian fighters, can fly an impressive 120 kilometers. This distance fully secures the carrier aircraft. In addition, the GROM-32 features a steering gear element, a control system, and a planning module. It is a small cruise missile, a propelled aviation bomb, and a thermobaric.

Advantages of the GROM-32

The main advantage is the wide production series, which makes it a quality and cheap option. The missile does not have particularly complex electronics, such as a seeker’s head, and all the other elements are not that expensive. But the effect of the application is great.

For example, working together with drones. These immediately transmit the coordinates and send them via the AS-UAV system to a carrier aircraft. This is ideal, and judging by the data of the last few weeks, the Russian command began to apply this scheme fully.

Another advantage is the possibility of modernizing individual elements of the GROM-32. For example, control and guidance systems. They may be able to “hold on” to something more serious than targeting a signal from a satellite, which is not always possible. For example, a relatively cheap seeker like the one on kamikaze drones would allow the missile to be used at night against moving targets.

Russian Su-34 and Su-57 have begun utilizing GROM glide munition.

Increase Reach

In the current configuration, the ammunition is not capable of this and is intended, for the most part, to neutralize static objects such as buildings, warehouses, and others. Or a propulsion module. Suppose the enemy upgrades his anti-aircraft gun from the current 120 km to 150 km. Russian air defenses can improve the MRL, and the carrier is safe again.

GROM requires prior intelligence

The use of glide munitions is in itself an extremely significant phenomenon, especially for Russian aviation. At the same time, this activity is useless without serious reconnaissance since such weapons require precise target coordinates.

The Russian Air Force seems to have finally started to switch to this extremely effective scheme, which Ukrainian military experts also point out. It should be noted that the GROM is by no means the only one on the list of recently sighted news. 

Similarly, the UPAB-1500B appeared, the mass of which reached one and a half tons. Launched from a height of 15 kilometers, the munition can fly up to 50 kilometers and deliver a warhead weighing more than 1,000 kilograms to the target.