CBU-72 / BLU-73/B Fuel/Air Explosive (FAE)
The the 550-pound CBU-72 cluster bomb contains three submunitions known as fuel/air explosive (FAE). The submunitions weigh approximately 100 pounds and contain 75 pounds of ethylene oxide with air-burst fuzing set for 30 feet. An aerosol cloud approximately 60 feet in diameter and 8 feet thick is created and ignited by an embedded detonator to produce an explosion.
This cluster munition is highly effective against minefields, armored vehicles, aircraft parked in the open, and bunkers. The weapon is made up of three separate submunitions dispensing an aerosol fuel cloud across the target area. As the fuel cloud descends to the ground it is ignited by an embedded detonator to produce an impressive explosion. The rapidly expanding wave front due to overpressure flattens all objects within close proximity of the epicenter of the aerosol fuel cloud, and produces debilitating damage well beyond the flattened area.
During Desert Storm the Marine Corps dropped all 254 CBU-72s, primarily from A-6Es, against mine fields and personnel in trenches. Some secondary explosions were noted when it was used as a mine clearer; however, FAE was primarily useful as a psychological weapon. Second-generation FAE weapons were developed from the FAE I type devices (CBU-55/72) used in Vietnam.
The Marine Corps and Navy withdrew their remaining fuel-air munitions from operational service following Operation Desert Storm. By 1996, the Army's Operations Support Command transfered the CBU-55 and CBU-72 to demilitarization, and by mid-2001 only a few hundred remained to be demilitarized.
|Warhead:||3 BLU-73/B Fuel|
|Fuse:||Mark 339 Mod 0 Mechanical|
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