This long-serving series is one of, if not the, most common cluster bombs in the world. The common designation stands for Razovaya Bombovaya Kasseta (RBK), or “single-use cassette bomb”.
All are hollow metal shells which split open after drop. They can be carried in supersonic flight (though with a significant drag penalty) and place no G-load limitations on the carrying plane. The maximum drop speed is 440kts and the drop altitude band varies with the payload, but is never less than 335’ and never more than 60,000’.
The weapons mount on standard Warsaw Pact 250mm lug pylons. Compatible aircraft are the MiG-19 “Farmer”, MiG-21 “Fishbed”, MiG-23/27 “Flogger”, MiG-29 “Fulcrum”, Su-20/22 “Fitter”, Su-24 “Fencer”, Su-25 “Frogfoot”, Su-27 “Flanker”, Yak-28 “Brewer”, Tu-22M “Backfire” and even the Tu-95 “Bear”. The Chinese-built A-5 “Fantan”, J-7 “Fishbed”, and Indian-built Tejas are also compatible.
The loadouts vary with type, for example a MiG-19 can only carry two of the medium variants, while a Tu-22M can carry seventeen heavy or thirty-three medium RBKs.
The weapon family was originally developed by the Soviet AF, in 1991 the patent passed to SRPE Bazalt and in July 2008 passed again to Rostekhnologia. It was also produced under license in Romania.
As of 2011, only the RBK-500-SPBE-D, RBK-500-U, and RBK-500-Sh are still in production although all variants of all sizes remain in use.
These bombs weigh between 827lbs-1103lbs, depending on the type. The RBK-500U is delivered empty and filled in the field.
RBK-500-375: x30 AO-10SCz
RBK-500-AO: x108 AO-2.5RT (footprint of 224,000 sq feet at typical drop parameters)
RBK-500-PTAB: x268 PTAB-1M
RBK-500-RAP: x108 RAP-2.5
RBK-500-Sh: x565 ShOAB-0.5
RBK-500-SPBE: x15 SPBE
RBK-500-SPBE-D: x15 sensor-fuzed anti-tank weapons
RBK-500U: x10 OFAB-50 or x75 PTAB-2.5M or x126 OAB-2.5RT or x352 PTAB-1M
RBK-500U-Sh: x565 ShOAB-0.5
RBK-500-ZAB: x117 ZAB-2.5SM
These bombs are in service in many countries around world. Africa, Europe, Asia most common: USSR/Russian Federation, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Congo-Brazzaville, Croatia, Cuba, Czechoslovakia (later Czech Republic and Slovakia), Ethiopia, East Germany, Georgia, Hungary, India, Iraq, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Guinea-Bissau, Moldova, Mongolia, Nigeria, Romania, Peru, Poland, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Yugoslavia/Serbia