Saturday, March 28, 2009
The Vacuum Bombs also known as Thermobaric bombs. Are environmentally friendly, compared to nuclear bombs. The term thermobaric is derived from the Greek words for thermo means “heat” and baric means “pressure”. They are also called high-impulse thermobaric weapons ‘HITs’, fuel-air explosives ‘FAE or FAX’ or sometimes fuel-air munitions, heat and pressure weapons. The explosion of these bombs release tremendous heat and sonic pressure waves along with powerful vacuums and over pressure level similar to a nuclear bomb.
Vacuum bomb uses atmospheric oxygen, instead of carrying an oxidizer in their explosives. The effects are similar to the effects produced by low-yield nuclear weapons, but without radiation problems. The explosives used in the thermobaric bombs are oxygen deficient and they suck oxygen from air for complete combustion of the dispersed parts of the bomb. The rapidly expanding wave front due to over pressure flattens all objects within close proximity. This process can generate more energy than the nuclear and conventional bombs. The bomb explodes in mid-air and its destructive power comes from extremely high temperatures and aftershocks, which incinerate everything nearby.
A thermobaric weapon works in two stages. The first stage, a cloud of powder or liquid explosive is dispersed in the space. The cloud gets mixed with atmospheric oxygen. Once the fuel is appropriately mixed with oxygen, the second charge detonates, the second stage. Within the detonation, the pressure can reach up to 3 million Pascal (MPa) and the temperature is raised between 2500 and 3000°C. The pressure drops below atmospheric pressure creating airflow back to the center of the explosion (epicenter). It draws in the unexploded burning fuel to create complete penetration of all non-airtight objects within the blast radius, which are then incinerated. Some thermobaric weapons are designed not to disperse fuel before igniting it, but are single-stage bombs having one explosive charge that both ignites and disperses the fuel.
al Qaeda used a crude form of a thermobaric bomb. Their bomb was delivered by truck. The impact left massive damage at the Islamabad Marriott, including a gaping hole in the ground in front of the building. 254 CBU-72s were used by the Marines during Desert Storm on minefields, armored vehicles, aircraft's, and bunkers. The blast effects causes asphyxiation and internal damage in deeper tunnels because of the blast wave, the heat, or the following air draw. They were delivered by A-6Es.