Air Weapons: May 19, 2003


The U.S. Marine AH-1W helicopter gunships used a new version of the Hellfire missile (the AGM-114N ) in Iraq. AGM-114N uses a thermobaric warhead. The official name is "Metal Augmented Charge," and it's a new application for the fuel air type explosive that Russia has been developing (and selling on the open market) for the last decade. This weapon was developed in less than a year. The warhead dispenses an explosive mist when it hits a target, and then detonates an explosion that will go around corners and into every corner of a building, bunker or cave. Since the Hellfire is accurate enough to be put through a cave entrance, window or bunker opening, it's a much more effective weapon for these types of targets. The blast created is more effective at killing people than destroying structures. But the intense heat created is also useful for destroying chemical and biological weapons. Captured Iraqi soldiers said one of the reasons they surrendered was stories of American weapons "that melted soldiers." A thermobaric weapon will do that. Hellfires are also used by AH-64 Apaches and Predator UAVs. There is also a new thermobaric bomb, the BLU-118S, which was used in Afghanistan. 


Article Archive

Air Weapons: Current 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 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