Air Weapons: May 4, 2004

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In preparation for the Iraq invasion, the U.S. Air Force undertook a rush project  160 days long to develop, build, test and manufacture 220 of the CBU-107 Passive Attack Weapons (PAW). This weapon was needed to destroy targets like radar and communications antennas, storage facilities for fuel and other liquids and similar soft targets, without causing a lot of explosions that could injure nearby civilians. PAW is basically a wind corrected munitions dispenser guidance kit (which uses an inertial guidance system instead of GPS) attached to a cluster bomb that has the submunitions replaced with 3,700 tungsten and steel bullets weighing from one to 17 ounces. The speed of the falling bomb alone has all these bullets reaching the target area traveling at about a thousand feet per second (the same speed many pistol bullets travel at.) This is sufficient to destroy the intended targets without explosives. Of course, any people getting hit by one of these bullets (especially the one pound ones) is dead, and the cloud of bullets covers an area nearly as large as a football field. The PAW was used in Iraq, usually at night, and destroyed their targets. Since few people were out and about, and many of the targets were in restricted military areas, there were apparently few, if any, civilian casualties. This is your kinder and gentler, but still very destructive, air force at work. Most of the PAWs are still unused, but ready for future missions.

 


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