Warplanes: December 21, 2001


Correcting its previous reports, the Pentagon now says that no fuel-air explosive (FAE) bombs have been dropped in Afghanistan. Three BLU-82s have been dropped. Two were enough to break the defenses of Mazar-I-Sharif and the third broke the back of Taliban resistance at Kandahar. While these are referred to in the press as Daisy Cutter bombs, this term in fact refers to the fuze (which could be fitted to any of several bombs). The Daisy Cutter fuze is a four-foot stand-off probe that detonates the weapon a few feet above the ground, improving its blast effect. This is slowly being phased out in favor of radar-altimeter fuzes. The BLU-82/B doesn't have a name, although some pilots call it the Big Blue. Missions to drop these (and other types of) huge bombs are called Commando Vault. It is a 15,400-pound high explosive bomb, containing 12,600 pounds of a slurry of ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum. The bomb was designed to be as big as it could be and still fit into a C-130. Big Blue was confused (by Pentagon spokesmen) with the CBU-72/B, which is a fuel-air explosive bomb used in the Gulf War, and with the BLU-72/B which was used only in Vietnam. The Pentagon says it is currently redeveloping fuel-air explosive bombs for future use.--Stephen V Cole


Article Archive

Warplanes: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close