“TheCeļotājs”
"Latvia" Former Soviet Union Military Bases
 
Appendix XXI
 
Cluster Bomb, Cluster Munition 
 
              
 
    
 
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 enemy 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 submunitions-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. Unexploded bomblets can kill or maim civilians and/or unintended targets long after a conflict has ended, and are costly to locate and remove.
 
Cluster munitions are prohibited for those nations that ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland in May 2008. The Convention entered into force and became binding international law upon ratifying states on 1 August 2010, six months after being ratified by 30 states; currently, a total of 111 states had signed the Convention and 73 of those have ratified it. 
 
Development 
 
      
     SD–2 Butterfly Bomb circa 1940. Wings rotate
     as bomb falls, unscrewing the arming spindle
     connected to the fuze
 
The first cluster bomb used operationally was the German SD-2 or Sprengbombe Dickwandig 2kg, 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 see "Thermos Bomb". 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.
 
Types of Cluster Bombs
 
A basic cluster bomb consists of a hollow shell and then two to more than 2,000 submunitions or bomblets contained within it. Some types are dispensers that are designed to be retained by the aircraft after releasing their munitions. The submunitions themselves may be fitted with small parachute retarders or streamers to slow their descent "allowing the aircraft to escape the blast area in low-altitude attacks".
 
Modern cluster bombs and submunitions dispensers are often multiple-purpose weapons, containing mixtures of anti-armor, anti-personnel, and anti-materiel munitions. The submunitions themselves may also be multi-purpose, such as combining a shaped charge, to attack amour, with a fragmenting case, to attack infantry, material, and light vehicles. Modern multipurpose munitions may also have an incendiary effect.
 
Recently submunitions-based weapons have been designed that deploy smart submunitions, using thermal and visual sensors to locate and attack particular targets, usually armored vehicles. Weapons of this type include the US CBU-97 sensor-fuzed weapon, first used in combat during Operation Iraqi Freedom, the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Munitions specifically intended for anti-tank use may be set to self-destruct if they reach the ground without locating a target, 
theoretically reducing the risk of unintended civilian deaths and injuries. Although smart submunitions weapons are many times more expensive than standard cluster bombs, which are cheaper and simpler to manufacture, far fewer smart submunitions are required for defeating dispersed and mobile targets in an area, offsetting this cost. On the basis that they should not cause the indiscriminate area effects or unexploded ordnance risks of cluster munitions, these 
submunitions are not classified as cluster munitions under the definition of the weapon enshrined in international law by the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
 
Incendiary
 
Incendiary cluster bombs are intended to start fires, just as conventional incendiary bombs "also called firebombs". They are specifically designed for this purpose, with submunitions of white phosphorus or napalm, and they often include anti-personnel and anti-tank submunitions to hamper firefighting efforts.  When used in cities they have often been preceded by the use of conventional explosive bombs to break open the roofs and walls of buildings to expose flammable
contents to the incendiaries. One of the earliest examples is the so-called Molotov bread basket first used by the Soviet Union in the Winter War of 1939-1940. This type of munition was extensively used by both sides in the strategic bombings of World War II. Bombs of this type were used to start firestorms in cases such as the bombing of Dresden in World War II and the firebombing of Tokyo. In some modern bombs, submunitions are used to deliver a highly 
combustible thermo-baric aerosol, which is subsequently ignited, resulting in a high pressure explosion.
 
Anti-Personnel
 
Anti-personnel cluster bombs use explosive fragmentation to kill troops and destroy soft "unarmored" targets. Along with incendiary cluster bombs, these were among the first forms of cluster bombs produced by Germany during World War II. They were famously used during the Blitz with delay and booby-trap fusing to hamper firefighting and other damage-control efforts in the bombed areas. They were also used with a contact fuze when attacking entrenchments. These weapons were most widely used during the Vietnam War when many thousands of tons of submunitions were dropped on Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
 
Anti-Tank
 
Most anti-armor munitions contain shaped charge warheads to pierce the armor of tanks and armored fighting vehicles. In some cases, guidance is used to increase the likelihood of successfully hitting a vehicle. Modern guided
submunitions, such as those found in the U.S. CBU-97, can use either a shaped charge or an explosively formed penetrator. Unguided shaped-charge submunitions are designed to be effective against entrenchments that incorporate overhead cover. To simplify supply and increase battlefield effectiveness by allowing a single type of round to be used against nearly any target, submunitions that incorporate both fragmentation and shaped-charge effects are produced.
 
Anti-Runway
 
      
                  Modern Israeli anti-runway cluster bomb
 
Anti-runway submunitions such as the British JP233 are designed to penetrate concrete before detonating, allowing them to shatter and crater runway surfaces. In the case of the JP233, the cratering effect is achieved through the use of a two-stage warhead that combines a shaped charge and a conventional bulk explosive charge. The shaped charge penetrates the surface of the runway while the bulk explosive charge detonates under the surface which makes the crater bigger. This explosion also shatters the surface, this effect combined with the anti-personnel mines which may be deployed in addition to the Anti-runway can make repairs more difficult.
 
Mine-Laying
 
When submunitions-based weapons are used to disperse mines, their submunitions do not detonate immediately, but behave like conventional land mines that detonate later. The submunitions usually include a combination of anti- personnel and anti-tank mines. Since such mines usually lie on exposed surfaces, the anti-personnel forms, such as the US Area Denial Artillery Munition normally deploy tripwires automatically after landing to make clearing the minefield
more difficult. In order to avoid rendering large portions of the battlefield permanently impassable, and to minimize the amount of mine-clearing needed after a conflict, scatter able mines used by the United States are designed to self-destruct after a period of time from 4 to 48 hours. The internationally agreed definition of cluster munitions being negotiated in the Oslo Process may not include this type of weapon, since landmines are already covered in other specific international instruments.
 
Chemical Weapons
 
    
     U.S. Honest John missile warhead cutaway,
     showing M134 Sarin Bomblets
 
During the 1950s and 1960s, the United States and Soviet Union developed cluster weapons designed to deliver chemical weapons. The Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 banned their use. Six nations declared themselves in possession of chemical weapons. The US and Russia are in the process of destroying their stockpiles, although they have received extensions for the full destruction, not having completed the destruction of their Chemical Weapons stockpiles by 2007, as the Treaty had originally intended.
 
Anti-Electrical
 
An anti-electrical weapon, the CBU-94/B, was first used by the U.S. in the Kosovo War in 1999. These consist of a TMD "Tactical Munitions Dispenser"  filled with 202 BLU-114/B "Soft-Bomb" submunitions. Each submunitions contains a small explosive charge that disperses 147 reels of fine conductive fiber of either carbon or aluminum-coated glass. Their purpose is to disrupt and damage electric power transmission systems by producing short circuits in high-voltage power lines and electrical substations. On the first attack, these knocked out 70% of the electrical power supply in Serbia. There are reports that it took 500 people 15 hours to get one transformer yard back on line after being hit with these weapons.
 
Leaflet Dispensing
 
The LBU-30 is designed for dropping large quantities of propaganda leaflets from aircraft. Enclosing the leaflets within the bomblets ensures that the leaflets will fall on the intended area without being dispersed excessively by the wind. The LBU-30 consists of SUU-30 dispensers that have been adapted to leaflet dispersal. The dispensers are essentially recycled units from old bombs. The LBU-30 was tested at Eglin Air Force Base in 2000, by an F-16 flying at 20,000 feet "6,100m".
 
Threat to Civilians
 
While all weapons are dangerous, cluster bombs pose a particular threat to civilians for two reasons: they have a wide area of effect, and they have consistently left behind a large number of unexploded bomblets. The unexploded bomblets can remain dangerous for decades after the end of a conflict.
 
Cluster munitions are opposed by many individuals and hundreds of groups, such as the Red Cross, the Cluster Munition Coalition and the United Nations, because of the high number of civilians that have fallen victim to the weapon. Since February 2005, Handicap International called for cluster munitions to be prohibited and collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to support its call. 98% of 13,306 recorded cluster munitions casualties that are registered with Handicap International are civilians, while 27% are children. 
 
The area affected by a single cluster munition, known as its footprint, can be very large; a single unguided M26 MLRS rocket can effectively cover an area of 0.23km2. In US and most allied services, the M26 has been replaced by the M30 guided missile fired from the MLRS. The M30 has greater range and accuracy but a smaller area of coverage. It is worth noting that for reasons including both danger to civilians and changing tactical requirements, the non-cluster unitary warhead XM31 missile is, in many cases, replacing even the M30.
 
Because of the weapon's broad area of effect, they have often been documented as striking both civilian and military objects in the target area. This characteristic of the weapon is particularly problematic for civilians when cluster munitions are used in or near populated areas and has been documented by research reports from groups such as Human Rights Watch, Landmine Action, Mines Action Canada and Handicap International. In some cases, like the
Zagreb rocket attack, civilians were deliberately targeted by such weapons. 
 
Unexploded Ordnance
 
The other serious problem, also common to explosive weapons is unexploded ordnance "UXO" of cluster bomblets left behind after a strike. These bomblets may be duds or in some cases the weapons are designed to detonate at a later stage. In both cases, the surviving bomblets are live and can explode when handled, making them a serious threat to civilians and military personnel entering the area. In effect, the UXOs can function like land mines.
 
Even though cluster bombs are designed to explode prior to or on impact, there are always some individual submunitions that do not explode on impact. The US-made MLRS with M26 warhead and M77 submunitions are supposed to have a 5% dud rate but studies have shown that some have a much higher rate. The rate in acceptance tests prior to the Gulf War for this type ranged from 2% to a high of 23% for rockets cooled to −25 °F "−32 °C" before testing. The M483A1 DPICM artillery-delivered cluster bombs have a reported dud rate of 14%. 
 
Given that each cluster bomb can contain hundreds of bomblets and be fired in volleys, even a small failure rate can lead each strike to leave behind hundreds or thousands of UXOs scattered randomly across the strike area. For example, after the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict, UN experts have estimated that as many as one million unexploded bomblets may contaminate the hundreds of cluster munition strike sites in Lebanon. 
 
In addition, some cluster bomblets, such as the BLU-97/B used in the CBU-87, are brightly colored to increase their visibility and warn off civilians. However, the yellow color, coupled with their small and nonthreatening appearance, is attractive to young children who wrongly believe them to be toys. This problem was exacerbated in the War in Afghanistan "2001 to present", when US forces dropped humanitarian rations from airplanes with similar yellow-colored packaging as the BLU-97/B, yellow being the NATO standard color for high explosive filler in air weapons. The rations packaging was later changed first to blue and then to clear in the hope of avoiding such hazardous confusion.
 
The US military is developing new cluster bombs that it claims could have a much lower "less than 1%" dud rate. Sensor-fused weapons that contain a limited number of submunitions that are capable of autonomously engaging armored
targets may provide a viable, if costly, alternative to cluster munitions that will allow multiple target engagement with one shell or bomb while avoiding the civilian deaths and injuries consistently documented from the use of cluster munitions. Certain such weapons may be allowed under the recently adopted Convention on Cluster Munitions, provided they do not have the indiscriminate area effects or pose the unexploded ordnance risks of cluster munitions.
 
In the 1980s the Spanish firm Esperanza y Cia developed a 120mm caliber mortar bomb which contained 21 anti-armor submunitions. What made the 120mm "Espin" unique was the electrical impact fusing system which totally eliminated dangerous duds. The system operates on a capacitor in each submunitions which charged by a wind generator in the nose of the projectile after being fired. If for what ever reason the electrical fuse fails to function on impact, approximately 5 minutes later the capacitor bleeds out, therefore neutralizing the submunitions electronic fuse system. Later a similar mortar round was offered in the 81mm caliber and equipped some Spanish Marine units. But on signing the Wellington Declaration on Cluster Munitions, Spain withdrew both the 81mm and 120mm "Espin" rounds from its military units.
 
Civilian Deaths from Unexploded Cluster Bomblets
  • In Vietnam, people are still being killed as a result of cluster bombs and other objects left by the US and Vietnamese military forces. Estimates range up to 300 people killed annually by unexploded ordnance. 
  • Some 270 million cluster submunitions were dropped on Laos in the 1960s and 1970s; approximately one third of these submunitions failed to explode and continue to pose a threat today.
  • During the 1999 NATO war against Yugoslavia U.S. and Britain dropped 1,400 cluster bombs in Kosovo. Within the first year after the end of the war more than 00 civilians died from unexploded British and American bombs. Unexploded 
  • cluster bomblets caused more civilian deaths than landmines.
  • Israel used cluster bombs in Lebanon in 1978 and in the 1980s. Those weapons used more than two decades ago by Israel continue to affect Lebanon.During the 2006 war in Lebanon Israel fired large numbers of cluster bombs in Lebanon, containing an estimated more than 4 million cluster submunitions. In the first month following the ceasefire, unexploded cluster munitions killed or injured an average of 3-4 people per day.
Convention on Cluster Munitions
 
Taking effect on August 1, 2010, the "Convention on Cluster Munitions" bans the stockpiling, use and transfer of virtually all existing cluster bombs and provides for the clearing up of unexploded munitions. It had been signed by 108 countries, of which 38 had ratified it by the affected date, "but many of the world's major military powers including the United States, Russia and China are not signatories to the treaty". 
 
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Revised: 01/30/2013 – 14:15:02