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Attack on Afghanistan: Washington's fearsome arsenal

by  Raymond Whitaker, The Independent 


 Independent on Sunday;. 4 November  2001 

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca,  23 November 2001

Bomb technology has come a long way even since the Kosovo campaign two years ago, when bad weather often obstructed hi-tech US weapons, writes Raymond Whitaker. But in battle conditions not even the most modern bombs falling on Afghanistan are pinpointaccurate. 

MK20 Rockeye cluster bomb

Dropped by US Navy aircraft, the casing contains more than 200 "bomblets" which spray over an area the size of a football field. The latest bomblets are shaped to prevent winds blowing them off course. Their main purpose is to kill concentrations oftroops and deny them the use of areas such as airfields.

GBU-28 "Bunker Buster"

Hurriedly developed by the Americans during the Gulf war to penetrate deep bunkers, the casing of the bomb is made from the gun barrels of retired Navy battleships. Relies on metal's strength to burrow into the earth. Most are laser-guided but latestmodels use global positioning satellites for guidance. Can also be dropped in bad weather but are less accurate then.

MK82-84 "Dumb Bombs"

The 500lb MK82 is dropped in large numbers by long-range B52s making "carpet bombing" attacks on Taliban front lines, while Air Force and Navy strike aircraft drop heavier versions. New equipment dispenses them in a tight pattern. Side fins make somebombs "smarter", enabling them to glide short distances.

BLU-82 "Commando Vault"

Massive 15,000lb bomb rolled out of the back of special forces C130s. A parachute enables the aircraft to get away in time. The Americans used their huge shock-wave effect during the Gulf war to demoralise Iraqi troops, with accompanying leaflets warningthat more would be dropped soon. Also used to detonate minefields blocking the path of friendly forces.


Copyright,  The Independent,  2001. For fair use only

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