Serial Code Fragments:

A0-2,5 PTM 3-11-91

Suspected Company:








Type of weapon

AO-2.5 RTM cluster bomblet which are component in the RBK-500 AO-2.5 RTM




On June 16th, 2016 multiple airstrikes hit the New Syrian Army (NSyA) camp at the al-Tanf border crossing in Syria. These airstrikes destroyed buildings, vehicles and equipment. 2 NSyA fighters died and many more were injured in the airstrikes. The New Syrian Army is a key part of the US government’s “Train and Equip” program which was set up to arm rebel groups to fight ISIS. New Syrian Army fighters are vetted by the US and Jordan to ensure that they are not extremists. Furthermore, they are required to sign a document pledging to only fight ISIS and not the Syrian government. Several hundred kilometers from the nearest government front line, the NSyA has never fought any group other than ISIS. Thus the airstrikes that hit the New Syrian Army on June 16th only assisted ISIS on the ground. This would be a direct contradiction of Russia’s stated goal of defeating ISIS.

While the US government and most independent media sources have stated that Russia is responsible for the airstrikes, we can use photographic evidence to conclusively show that this is the case. The New Syrian Army released multiple photos of the bombs that were used in the airstrike. We can identify the type of bomb used by examining the photos and thus determine if Russia is responsible for the airstrike. First off, the bombs used were clearly cluster bombs as multiple unexploded cluster bomblets can be seen scattered around al-Tanf.

Unexploded cluster bomblets scattered around the New Syrian Army’s al-Tanf camp.

A tail fin of a RBK-500 AO-2.5 RTM cluster bomb that hit the New Syrian Army’s al-Tanf camp on June 16th (note the distinctive single ring fin style common to RBK pattern bombs)

Russian AO-2.5 RT and RTM (Oskolochnaya Aviabombaskaya Rotatsionni, Fragmentation Bomblet Rotating), an oval-shaped high-explosive (HE), anti-personnel, fragmentation submunition which has a central all-ways acting fuze.

RBK-500 AO-2.5 RTM, an internally or externally fixed-wing aircraft carried and dropped, unguided free-fall, submunition dispensing cluster bomb designed to carry 108 anti-personnel/anti-material (APAM) submunitions designated AO-2.5 RTM, hence the overall cluster bomb's designation.

RBK-500 AO-2.5 RTM cluster bombs at Russia’s Hmeymim Airbase in Latakia Governorate, Syria (Conflict Intelligence Team and RIA Novosti, 2016)

The AO-2.5 RTM cluster bomblet remnants which were found at the incident have been manufactured in the year of 1991. Making it difficult to identify or suspect which company manufactured these.