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Air Weapons: May 11, 2005
   
The U.S. Air Force is shipping to Iraq a new bomb, HardSTOP (Hardened Surface Target Ordnance Package), designed to destroy the inside of target buildings, without damaging adjacent buildings. HardSTOP is a GPS guided half ton cluster bomb. The GPS and computer in the bomb control the dispersal of 54 smaller bomblets, that are designed to penetrate the roof of a building and explode inside. The bomb software can be programmed to distribute the bomblets in an area as small as 20 feet in diameter, or up to 110 feet. When the bomblets go through the roof, they explode. Some of the bomblets can be programmed to go through one or more floors before exploding. With HardSTOP, the risk of damage to nearby buildings is minimal. Actually, the building the bomblets hit wont be damaged much, as the small explosive charge in each bomblet is designed to kill people, not destroy a building. In effect, HARDStop puts 54 large hand grenades inside a building, allowing nearby friendly troops to quickly move in and take possession.