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UK intel: Aircrew fatigue, poor training behind Russia’s repeated bombing blunders

Repeated accidental bombings of Russian villages by Russian military aircraft this month point to aircrew fatigue and deficient aerial mission training, per UK intelligence.
The FAB-250-M62, a Soviet-designed 250-kilogram general purpose air-dropped bomb with a high-explosive warhead. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

In its January 30 intelligence update on Ukraine, the UK Defense Ministry says two Russian fighter jets released munitions over Russian farms and a village in January 2024, forcing evacuations.

It marks the fourth time over the past month that Russian aircrews made such errors, revealing mounting fatigue and inadequate training among aircrews, as per the ministry.

The ministry wrote:

  • Russian independent Telegram news channel Astra reported on 27 January 2024 that Russian aircraft had accidentally discharged two FAB-250 unguided munitions on two Russian villages in the Belgorod area. The first munition landed on a farm in Postnikov, whilst the second munition landed on an urban street in Strelestkoye village, prompting an evacuation of up to 150 civilians within a 500m radius.
  • This is the fourth Russian accidental aerial munition discharge on its own territory this month. In total, this is the fifth overall within a year, with the earliest occasion in Belgorod City on 20 April 2023.
  • It cannot be confirmed whether such incidents occur due to poor procedures when arming the aircraft prior to sorties or poor execution by aircrew during missions. It is likely a combination of both. The increasing frequency of these occurrences likely demonstrates a degree of air and ground crew fatigue within the Russian front line, as well as exposing inadequate training.

On 8 January, the discharge of the FAB-250 unguided aerial bomb occurred over occupied Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast.

Earlier, on 2 January, one of the Russian military aircraft discharged a munition damaging nine residential properties in Petropavlovka, in Russia’s Voronezh Oblast, according to Russia’s Ministry of Defence.

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