Air Weapons: Turkey Buys Bunker Busters

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March 8, 2016: Turkey recently ordered $700 million worth of smart bombs from American suppliers. This order is for over a thousand bombs and will take until 2020 for all of them to arrive. Turkey has been using smart bombs on its F-16s since the 1990s but this is the first time they ordered the laser guided, 909 kg (2,000 pound) BLU-109. This “bunker buster” can penetrate five meters (16 feet) of concrete and even more earth. It is believed Turkey wants these to go after PKK (Kurdish separatist) and ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) facilities in caves and other underground bunkers.

In 2015 Turkish F-16s used about a thousand smart bombs against PKK (mainly) and ISIL targets. In addition the late 2015 Russian intervention in Syria led to tense situations between Russian and Turkish warplanes. One Russian was shot down and Russia has threatened war with Turkey. Turkey needs to replenish its supply of smart bombs and will probably be ordering more if the Russian threat continues.

 


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