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Bombs - General | Bombs - Smart | China | Design Innovations | Explosives | Materials Innovations | New Systems Tech | Rockets | Russia | USA

Thermobaric Weapons Becoming More Common

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Things that make yougo BOOM… Thermobaric weapons are also known as “fuel-air explosives,” though their composition has become more complex in recent years, and no longer uses unreliable fuel-air mixes. They’re also no longer confined to the bombs that were used to clear helicopter landing zones in Vietnam, or even the gargantuan 15,000-pound BLU-82 Commando Vault/”Daisy Cutter” [see Graphic | Flash] and 21,000-pound, H6 explosive (RDX, TNT & aluminum powder) filled GBU-43B “MOAB” bombs. All the way at the other end of the scale, they’re finding their way into portable rocket launchers like the SMAW, RPG, etc. DID noted this very trend in our March 10, 2005 coverage of the LAW rocket’s return, and similar man-portable thermobaric rockets proved extremely effective during the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. Fortified buildings used as strongholds by Islamist paramilitary death squads were sometimes caved in with a single shot from a US Marine Corps SMAW-NE (Shoulder-Mounted Antitank Weapon, New Explosive). As reader Robert Schmidt points out… SMAW-NE uses PBXIH-135, a mixture of HMX and aluminum that uses the combusting metal to augment the production of hot gases. In a confined space, the gases will flow around barriers like internal subdivisions of […]

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