Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Thermobaric Weapon - Explosive Fuel-Air Bombs

There are many different types of Thermobaric weapons, it is the destructive concept that renders Thermobarics different than conventional high explosives. Rather than a simple bomb with high explosives in the warhead, thermobaric weapons, or fuel-air bombs, are predominantly filled with either an aerosol or powder of a high explosive mixture. The bomb has 2 charges, the first to blow away the casing and release the aerosol cloud, and the second to detonate the cloud. This 2 stage method renders the size of the blast to be drastically larger in diameter than conventional high explosives, which dramatically increases the shockwave and heat created by the explosion. These weapons are the most powerful bombs besides nuclear weapons, common examples are the MOAB and “Daisy Cutter” bomb, the latter is popularly displayed twice in the awesome movie Outbreak starring Dustin Hoffman and Morgan Freeman (in the opening scene and ending scenes). Also known as vacuum bombs, they are also used on building and caves because of their ability to collapse structures. The shockwave and subsequent dramatic overpressure created by the intense heat of the explosion draws in oxygen so fast that it literally sucks in anything in its radius, be it cave walls or walls of a structure. Thermobarics have seen widespread use in the caves of Afghanistan, and smaller versions are also becoming more widespread with applications from hand grenades to rocket launchers.

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