Military Review

For study and for combat. Concrete bombs


Suspension of bombs TsAB-P-25M2 on the holder DER-4. Photo

Traditional designs aviation bombs involve the use of a metal case with one or another filling - an explosive charge or submunitions. However, it is possible to use other materials such as concrete. IN stories aviation weapons were attended by a wide range of bombs made entirely of concrete or with its use as ballast. These were mainly products for training purposes, but combat models are also known.

Economy and Security

The idea of ​​making bombs from non-standard materials dates back almost to the First World War. The rapid growth of military aviation required the organization of high-quality training of pilots, incl. teach them bombing. The use of bulk combat bombs was economically disadvantageous and unsafe, which required a different option.

Concrete could be a convenient solution. Training (practical) bombs made from this material were quite cheap and easy to manufacture, but at the same time they qualitatively imitated a full-fledged ammunition. The idea of ​​making and using practical concrete bombs in the twenties and thirties spread to all the major countries that built their bomber fleets.

Early concrete bombs were made in the caliber and form factor of standard combat items. Most often, a one-piece "body" was used, to which a metal plumage was added. Some training bombs were carried out on the basis of existing units. In this case, the finished combat corps weapons was filled not with standard explosives, but with concrete of the same mass.

Development processes

Over time, more progressive designs appeared with a full-fledged fuse and charge, a low-power high-explosive or smoke one - for a clearer designation of the crash site. As the rulers of real bombs developed, the nomenclature of concrete practical bombs also expanded. This made it possible to carry out the most complete and high-quality training of pilots.

Found TsAB-P-40. The fuse bushing, concrete body and deformed stabilizer are visible. Photo

During the Second World War in Germany, against the background of a shortage of various materials, combat versions of concrete bombs were created. Wire-reinforced concrete was used in the manufacture of shells for bombs in calibers from 10 to 250 kg. In terms of fragmentation, such ammunition was inferior to full-fledged metal, but it was cheaper and more affordable. There were several designs in which a cement slurry was used to fix ready-made striking elements.

Other countries were able to use concrete munitions only for training purposes. They retained this role until the mid-forties. During this period, the Air Force began to master promising jet aircraft with improved characteristics and requirements for ammunition. The emergence of a new generation of high-explosive fragmentation and other bombs was accompanied by the development of appropriate educational products. At the same time, it was necessary to abandon concrete as a body material - now it was used only as a ballast-simulator of explosives.

Such training bombs continued to develop in parallel with combat ones. So, at present, many countries use practical ammunition with full-fledged control systems. In this case, the seeker provides delivery of a concrete or sand "charge" to the intended target.

Soviet concrete

Until the early thirties, the Red Army aviation continued to use pre-revolutionary practical bombs. They gradually became obsolete morally and did not correspond to the current state of military aviation weapons. In 1932-33. the first bomb of the new development P-40 (or TsAB-P-40), imitating a 40 kg caliber ammunition, was developed and put into service.

Bomb TsAB-P-7. Photo

The P-40 received a cylindrical body made of a cement mixture "OO" with a streamlined head and tail section. Inside the case there was a cavity for installing a fuse and an explosive charge. The bomb was supplied with a plywood stabilizer. The suspension was carried out using two metal lugs embedded in the concrete. They made it possible to transport the product horizontally or vertically.

The P-40 bomb without a fuse had a length of approx. 1,1 m with a body diameter of 212 mm and a span of 242 mm. Product weight - 43 kg. The combat load to simulate target destruction is 1,9 kg of TNT.

In 1934, a new training bomb, TsPB-P-25, appeared, on the basis of which the P-25M2 product was later developed. They differed from the previous P-40 in smaller dimensions and a different design. Now used a drop-shaped body from the mass "OO", supplemented by a hemispherical head fairing. The fuse was placed in the central tail tube and fixed with a hairpin. The main charge for bombing during the day was made of TNT. At night, it was proposed to use bombs with a pyrotechnic composition that gives a bright flash.

Another interesting development was the KAB-P-7 bomb with a curb weight of less than 8 kg. This product received a ceramic case and, in general, repeated the logic of previous projects. However, ceramics quickly demonstrated insufficient performance characteristics. In this regard, the production of a cement bomb TsAB-P-7 for a similar purpose was mastered.

German aerial bombs of various types. On the left, in a dark color, is a fragmentation SD-250. In the center there are two concrete bombs with a caliber of 250 kg. On the right - 50 kg educational items. Photo Wikimedia Commons

Concrete practical bombs were produced in our country until the end of the Great Patriotic War. Problems with the supply of certain components sometimes led to changes of various kinds, but in general the designs did not change. The Air Force used such bombs during the war and in the early post-war years, after which they had to be abandoned.

In the second half of the forties, fundamentally new jet aircraft entered service, for which the next generation of ammunition was developed. Together with them, it was necessary to create new practical bombs in a metal case, suitable for supersonic and high-altitude flight. In general, the further development of domestic "concrete" bombs was similar to foreign processes.

Combat application

For obvious reasons, in the first decades of their existence, concrete bombs were used only on training grounds and only against training targets. Later the situation changed. Concrete products have found application in real strikes, but they have not been able to noticeably squeeze the bombs of their usual appearance.

The first mass concrete combat bombs appeared in Germany at the final stage of World War II - a shortage of metal contributed to their appearance. Such weapons were quite actively used on different fronts and helped to reduce the cost of a bomb strike. However, such savings did not save the Nazis from defeat.

For study and for combat. Concrete bombs

German concrete bomb SD-250. Photo

For the next few decades, concrete ammunition on board returned to the purely training category again. However, then new possibilities appeared, which determined the current scope of their application.

The advent of high-precision weapons made it possible to increase the likelihood of hitting a target and reduce collateral damage. The use of a highly effective seeker and an inert / practical warhead in theory makes it possible to completely exclude damage to foreign objects - as in the joke about the radius of destruction and the radius of the bomb. And such opportunities have been repeatedly used in practice.

After the Gulf War (1999), two large no-fly zones were established in Iraqi airspace under the supervision of NATO air forces. Over time, the Iraqi army deployed a fairly numerous and powerful air defense in these zones. Since December 1998, NATO aircraft have regularly encountered operating air defenses, incl. with attempted shelling. Iraqi air defense positions were often located in populated areas, and NATO retaliatory strikes regularly resulted in the death of local residents.

We managed to find a way out quickly enough, and they were guided aerial bombs with concrete "combat equipment". As practice has shown, a training bomb is quite capable of destroying an anti-aircraft gun, missile system or even a tank - subject to a direct hit provided by the GOS. In this case, the scattering of fragments and the propagation of a shock wave were excluded. The damage from the miss was minimal.

Preparing the US Air Force F-16C fighter for flight for the use of concrete training bombs. Photo by US Air Force

According to various sources, similar techniques were used more than once in the future by various NATO countries. First of all, new pinpoint strikes by the US Air Force are known. During the 2011 intervention in Libya, inert bombs were used by France.

Past and future

At one time, concrete became a convenient and profitable substitute for metal in the manufacture of aerial bombs. Practical bombs with a concrete body were actively used for several decades, but then the development of aviation led to their abandonment. New training ammunition was built in a standard metal case - and concrete was placed inside as a weight simulator.

Further progress in the field of bomb armament did not lead to dramatic changes. Modern guided bombs in the training version are still filled with cement mortar or other substance with the required density and mass. In this configuration, they show sufficient effectiveness in influencing educational goals - and occasionally on real ones.

Most likely, the current state of affairs will continue. Concrete will leave a niche for a real explosive simulator, providing the required mass of the bomb assembly. A return to all-concrete bombs is not to be expected. The time for such products is long gone.

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  1. polpot
    polpot April 21 2021 18: 09
    Thank you, the topic is interesting, I would like a little more with examples of products and fighting qualities.
  2. Basarev
    Basarev April 21 2021 18: 23
    Isn't it too expensive to put a full-fledged seeker on a concrete bomb? In my opinion, it is more correct to use a complex like Hephaestus that is installed on the carrier. And he gives out the most accurate target designation, which allows you to drop the bomb without a miss. Even concrete.
    1. Narak-zempo
      Narak-zempo April 21 2021 19: 01
      Quote: Basarev
      And he gives out the most accurate target designation, allowing you to drop the bomb without a miss. Even concrete.

      In ideal conditions, a computer model is a perfect bomb.
      And then in complete calm.
    2. NIKN
      NIKN April 21 2021 19: 17
      Quote: Basarev
      Isn't it too expensive to put a full-fledged seeker on a concrete bomb? In my opinion, it is more correct to use a complex like Hephaestus

      If these bombs are not supposed to be used on an ongoing basis, there is no point in re-equipping the carriers. For one-time applications, the revision of the ammunition is just suitable. In NATO, the choice has been made in favor of guided munitions and they do not have a Hephaestus-type system. It is expensive to create such a system and re-equip the entire fleet for it, and to create it for a single use is generally more expensive than gold. But the modules, for the conversion of unguided ammunition into controlled ones, they put on stream. Well, we solved the problem of the accuracy of hitting targets.
  3. Vadim Ananyin
    Vadim Ananyin April 21 2021 19: 02
    Thanks to the author for the topic.
  4. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins April 21 2021 19: 28
    But about ceramics in the manufacture of aerial bombs (well, except for Japanese amphorae for fleas), I have not heard. Thanks to the author.
  5. igordok
    igordok April 21 2021 20: 25
    I remembered a joke about a rubber bomb. And cheaper and more dangerous.)
    And now, that is used as practical bombs. I think just "rubber" or "plastic" bombs are more relevant.
    1. not main
      not main April 22 2021 00: 15
      Quote: igordok
      I remembered a joke about a rubber bomb. And cheaper and more dangerous.)
      And now, that is used as practical bombs. I think just "rubber" or "plastic" bombs are more relevant.

      No, it’s not. Everything is more prosaic, ordinary metal and explosives in limited quantities. P-50 in various modifications, personally I used P-50-75 more.
    2. Alexey RA
      Alexey RA April 22 2021 11: 26
      Quote: igordok
      I remembered a joke about a rubber bomb. And cheaper and more dangerous.)

      There was also a cast-iron bomb, in which the area of ​​destruction was equal to the size of the bomb. smile
      Concrete UAB Yankees are her heir.
  6. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I April 22 2021 02: 16
    1.SSSR: Before the war, in order to save scarce metal, at the suggestion of Professor N.I. 35NG). The tests of these products were successfully completed in June 100. Even before the start of the war, high-explosive bombs in reinforced concrete hulls were adopted by the Air Force. In the first years of the war, reinforced concrete hulls were also manufactured at the Pavshinsky plant near Moscow.
    2.Germany:The first mass concrete combat bombs appeared in Germany at the final stage of World War II - a shortage of metal contributed to their appearance. (Author) Well, Germany-wabche, the homeland of the Ersatz! And the Germans' "concrete" ammunition was not limited to aerial bombs ... at the end of WW2 they produced, for example, "concrete" grenades and mines!
    And in general, "ersatz" were used to the utmost in the production of ammunition; incl. and explosives!
    Erzats VV in the USSR: At the beginning of the war, when German troops approached Moscow, attempts were made to use oxyliquite bombs developed at NII-6 on the Western Front. For this purpose, reinforced concrete hulls FAB-100 NG and FAB-250 NG were used. They were stuffed with a mixture of moss (sphagnum) and charcoal, which has a high absorption capacity. Liquid oxygen delivered from Moscow was poured into bombs at front-line airfields. The bombs equipped in this way retained their explosive properties at the level of bombs loaded with TNT and 50/50 ammatol for 3-4 hours for FAB-100 and FAB-250.

    It was equipped and dropped on airfields, tank columns, bridges and other enemy targets about 500 oxilicite bombs, mainly 100 kg caliber. Work on their use was discontinued when German troops were thrown back from the capital and the delivery of liquid oxygen to front-line airfields became impossible.
    In 1941, the Air Force adopted (for wartime) the FAB-100 KD high-explosive aerial bomb, developed by S. G. Dobrysh (NII-6). This bomb was filled with a liquid explosive mixture of KD, consisting of nitric acid, dichloroethane and oleum (ratio 60: 40: 30). In terms of explosive characteristics, this mixture is equivalent to TNT. The high-explosive effect of the FAB-100 KD was the same as that of the FAB-100 loaded with TNT
    Other "recipes" of ersatz-BB were also used!
    1. igor67
      igor67 April 22 2021 14: 27
      I remember as a child, we dug at the battlefield, shell casings and all sorts of rubbish, so there were a great many of these concrete German bombs, it was in the late 70s, I think they are lying there now, our city was bombed a little at 41 when the Germans captured, so not at the end of the war because of the economy
  7. Vladimir_2U
    Vladimir_2U April 22 2021 03: 26
    If ships were built of reinforced concrete, then there is even more room for imagination.
    1. Nikolaevich I
      Nikolaevich I April 22 2021 04: 34
      Quote: Vladimir_2U
      If ships were built of reinforced concrete,

      What about concrete armor? wink It is worth looking at the "concrete" T-34!
      1. Vladimir_2U
        Vladimir_2U April 22 2021 04: 49
        Quote: Nikolaevich I
        What about concrete armor?

        Well, it didn't go beyond the experiment, fortunately.
        1. IL-18
          IL-18 April 23 2021 23: 43
          The option of laying concrete between 15mm armor plates was considered. The technology turned out to be difficult for those years. But the USSR is the homeland of chob-khem
  8. Dmitry V.
    Dmitry V. April 22 2021 14: 57
    Several times in the forest I found fragments of concrete training bombs - the training boards of the CHVAKUSH apparently got rid of the bombs that had not been dropped over the range.