Intelligence: February 18, 2000


One of the most useful forms of intelligence on enemy weapons are the ones you capture or, in the case of Serbia, the ones that get dropped on you. One new weapon now in Russian hands (because the Serbs sold it to them) is the U.S. CBU-102. This is a "short circuit bomb" that drapes outdoor electrical switching yards with special carbon wire that shorts out the electrical equipment and deprives the served areas of electricity until all the carbon wire can be cleared away. That's a lot of wire, as each CBU carried 29,694 spools of carbon wire (202 bomblets, each with 147 spools). Each spool had 450 feet of wore and one spool could short out every electrical device it draped across. Not only was one bomb capable of covering a wide area with 2,500 miles of carbon wire, but the stuff was light enough for the wind to blow it around. So wire that did not land on the electrical equipment initially, could be blown from nearby trees, roofs or fences onto the electrical gear after having been cleared of wire. The first time the Serbs were confronted with a CBU-102 attack, it took 500 people 15 hours to completely clear out all the carbon wire. In subsequent attacks, the same workers, now more skilled at collecting the stuff, took only four hours to clear the installation. Details on how this was done was also passed onto the Russians. What is most worrisome about this is that the Russians sell most of their weapons to anyone with cash. With numerous samples of the CBU-102 in their possession, it's possible for the Russians to copy the design and manufacture their own. Although this is a 1980s era weapon (first used, via cruise missile, against Iraq in 1991), the CBU-102 had numerous improvements. There is already a guided version of the CB)-102 in the US inventory, but the Russians have their own guided bombs and would have no trouble producing a guided CBUsky-102. The guided version is safer to use, as an aircraft can drop the bomb from a high (10,000 meters) altitude, safe from ground fire.


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