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DEADLY CLUSTER MUNITIONS

BANE OF ENEMIES

INTRODUCTION
A cluster munition is a form of air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that
releases or ejects smaller submunitions.
Commonly, this is a cluster bomb that ejects explosive bomblets that are designed to
kill personnel and destroy vehicles.
Other cluster munitions are designed to destroy runways or electric power transmission
lines, disperse chemical or biological weapons, or to scatter land mines.
Some submunition-based weapons can disperse non-munitions, such as leaflets.
Because cluster bombs release many small bomblets over a wide area, they pose risks
to civilians both during attacks and afterwards.
During attacks, the weapons are prone to indiscriminate effects, especially in populated
areas.

DEVELOPMENT
The first cluster bomb used operationally was the German SD-2 or Sprengbombe Dickwandig
2 kg, commonly referred to as the Butterfly Bomb.
It was used in World War II to attack both civilian and military targets.
The technology was developed independently by the United States of America, Russia and
Italy.

The US used the 20-lb M41 fragmentation bomb wired together in clusters of 6 or 25 with
highly sensitive or proximity fuzes.

From the 1970s to the 1990s cluster bombs became standard air-dropped munitions for many
nations, in a wide variety of types. They have been produced by 34 countries and used in at
least 23.
Artillery shells that employ similar principles have existed for decades. They are typically
referred to as ICM (Improved Conventional Munitions) shells.
The US military slang terms for them are "firecracker" or "popcorn" shells, for the many small
explosions they cause in the target area.

DISPENSERS
Dispensers may be classified as another type of dropped
ordnance.
Like bombs, they are carried by aircraft.
Their payload, however, is smaller ordnance called submunitions.
Dispensers come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on
the payload inside. Some dispensers are reusable, and some are
one-time-use items.
Dropped dispensers fall away from the aircraft and are stabilized
in flight by fin assemblies. Dropped dispensers may be in one
piece or in multiple pieces.
All dropped dispensers use either mechanical time or proximity
fuzing.
These fuzes allow the payload to
predetermined height above the target.

be

dispersed

at

SUBMUNITIONS
Submunitions are classified as either bomblets, grenades, or mines.
They are small explosive-filled or chemical-filled items designed for saturation coverage of a large
area.
They may be antipersonnel (APERS), antimateriel (AMAT), antitank (AT), dual-purpose (DP),
incendiary, or chemical. Submunitions may be spread by dispensers, missiles, rockets, or
projectiles.
Each of these delivery systems disperses its payload of submunitions while still in flight, and the
submunitions drop over the target.
On the battlefield, submunitions are widely used in both offensive and defensive missions.
Submunitions are used to destroy an enemy in place (impact) or to slow or prevent enemy
movement away from or through an area (area denial).

Impact submunitions go off when they hit the ground. Area-denial submunitions, including
FASCAM, have a limited active life and self-destruct after their active life has expired.

The major difference between scatterable mines and placed mines is that the scatterable mines
land on the surface and can be seen. Placed mines may be hidden or buried under the ground and
usually cannot be seen.

REFERENCES
http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/dumb/cluster.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cluster_munition
http://
graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2012/02/06/world/africa/06atwar-chivers/06atwar-chive
rs-blog480.jpg
http://www.sangam.org/2012/04/images/Clusterbombsexplained.jpg
http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/44669000/gif/_
44669105_cluster_bomb_inf466.gif
http://www.adrianverdejo.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/bigbomb.jpg
http://blog.cleveland.com/world_impact/2008/12/large_20081203_Cluster_bombs.jpg

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