"There are no thermobaric weapons in service with the British Army and we have no plans to procure any"
Mr. Wray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what thermobaric weapons the British Army uses; what assessment has been made of their capability; and if he will make a statement on the extension of the technology. 
Dr. Moonie: There are no thermobaric weapons in service with the British Army and we have no plans to procure any. However, in view of the threat such weapons pose to our own forces (particularly when fighting in built-up areas or in caves), we are examining with industry the scope for technological advances in the area of enhanced blast explosives.
5 Dec 2002 : Hansard Parliamentary Questions ; Column 932W
That was then and this is now. So when the usually well informed Richard Norton-Taylor writes in the Guradian today that defence officials have said that , "British soldiers in Afghanistan are being supplied with a new "super weapon"... and that " The "enhanced blast" weapon is based on thermobaric technology used in the powerful bombs dropped by the Russians to obliterate Grozny, the Chechen capital, and in US "bunker busters", the reader might (understandably) become confused.
A confusion not made any clearer when RNT goes on to report that "Defence officials insisted yesterday that the British bombs were different. "They are optimised to create blast [rather than heat]", one said, adding that it would be misleading to call them "thermobaric".
The MOD defence News Blog says in explanation in relation to an item on Channel 4 news on Monday , "The MOD is purchasing a small number of enhanced blast munitions for use on operations. These have been procured in full accordance with the UK's obligations under international humanitarian law. It is important to us that our forces can choose from a wide suite of weaponry so they can respond appropriately and proportionately to any threat." - Channel 4 news had said , "The Ministry of Defence has told MPs it urgently wants old shoulder-launched weapons replaced with some that can carry enhanced blast devices."
Presumably these items refer to the M72A7 Light Anti-Armor Weapon’s (LAW) that comes equipped M72A9 Light Anti-Armor Weapon Anti-Structure Munition (ASM) rounds made by Talley Defense Systems, Mesa, Ariz., who have just taken an US$8Mn. order (non-competitive) for same for the US Marines.
These are described by the manufacturers as
..."The M72 LAW is a 66mm man-portable, lightweight, direct fire weapon that consists of an in-tube burning, free flight rocket prepackaged in a disposable launcher. The launcher is a lightweight, telescoping, single shot, throw away item consisting of an aluminum inner tube, an outer tube, a tube detonation device, a mechanical sight system, a firing mechanism, safety interlocks, an integral rear cover and shoulder rest and carry sling with front cover."
.. which are said to retail for some US$2,500 (£1,250) a shot. See 2 articles about the use of these in US military forces at these two posts - http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/us-military-begins-to-experience-the-law-again-01241/http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/marines-fought-the-law-and-the-law-won-0151/
These are explosive, bombs, grenades, missiles that rely upon natural atmospheric oxygen, and do not contain an natural oxidant in the explosive mixture.They are also called high-impulse thermobaric weapons (HITs), fuel-air explosives (FAE or FAX) or sometimes fuel-air munitions, heat and pressure. They produce more explosive energy for a given size (and therfeore weight, making them more easily portable on the batlefield) than do other conventional explosives, but are less precise in use and may have have unpredictable effects.
Initially these were two stage weapons, a volatile liquid or a finely powdered solid, which could be an explosive or metal powder would be dispwersed at a given distance / height and then a second charge would ignite it
Newer types of thermobaric weapons do not disperse the fuel before igniting it, but are single-stage bombs having one explosive charge that both ignites and disperses the fuel, which mey be in a gel not a liquid. (See Wikipedia)
The heat and pressure effects are formidable - soldiers (civilians, children, dogs) caught in the blast could have the air sucked from their bodies and even their internal organs catastrophically destroyed.
The above pic shows the missiles supplied by Talley defense Systems.Follow-Through Grenade (FTG ) Common Practice Round (CPR) an Inert training round with full caliber rocket duplicating live round weight, CG and flight characteristic s.
High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP): “Fire and forget” target-sensing fuze allows warhead to detonate at optimum moment
Novel Explosive (NE):
Dual purpose, dual safe, self discriminating warhead for urban destruction - this "Novel Explosive" is the thermobaric missile .
They may also refer to a related type of newer weapon the SMAW-D Type Classified and in production as the U.S. Army's Bunker Defeat Munition (BDM) which is a Single shot, disposable version of combat proven U.S. Marine Corps’ Shoulder-launched Multipurpose Assault Weapon (SMAW) described above.
Same massive target over-match effects against field fortifications, urban structures, and lightly armored vehicles as the SMAW High Explosive Dual Purpose (HEDP) rocket successfully employed by USMC during Operation JUST CAUSE, and both Army and Marine units in OPERATION DESERT STORM, OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM and OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. This is packaged in a light weight, rugged, disposable launcher, Simple to place into operation under any battlefield condition; airdrop certified and easily transported by one soldier
Each round has a unique fuze that automatically selects proper detonation mode to maximize warhead destructive effects on soft or hard targets
Soft Targets - Fuze delays warhead detonation until rocket is buried deep into target
Hard Targets - Fuze detonates immediately upon impact with target
Produces enormous target holes, propelling large fragments inside a vehicle or behind a wall - Unrivaled destruction against earth and timber bunkers - Can breach 8-inch reinforced concrete walls and 12-inch triple brick walls and Provides devastating effects against light armor - technicals.
Launcher has permanent night vision device mounting bracket permitting quick attachment of the AN/PVS-4 night sight, AN/PAQ-4 or AN/PEQ-2 laser aiming lights, or similar devices with rail grabber attachment
NAMMO acquires Talley.
Nammo AS, (The Nordic Ammunition Company) Raufoss, Norway, announced the completion of the acquisition of Talley Defense Systems Inc., Mesa, Arizona, effective March 30, 2007.
Nammo is a world leading supplier of ammunition, missile products and demilitarization services. The Nammo Group has subsidiaries in Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA. Nammo has 1200 employees and annual sales of over $300 million. Nammo's shareholders are the Norwegian State represented by the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) and the Finnish Aerospace and Defence Group, Patria Oyj, with 50/50 shared ownership.
The Group continues its focus on niche products with high technological content that has an increased demand in the defence market.
Now it is entriely possible that Nimmo / Talley have already received one order' placed for 2009 delivery - and it is rumoured one for more immediate delivery.Channel 4 News has learnt the army also wants Britain's new Apache helicopters - at use for the first time in Afghanistan - to have their missiles equipped with another form of thermobaric device, called a metal augmented charge.
When Channel 4 approached the MOD June, a spokesman said they were not buying enhanced blast devices, but were interested in them. When they admitted to MPs they had already bought two batches, they then told us these were not thermobaric weapons.
That claim was withdrawn five hours later and the MOD refused to put anyone up for an interview.
British and NATO troops are fighting a modern version of old trench warfare in Afghanistan. Intense firefights with the Taliban, leaving, reports said this weekend, nearly half of some units needing medical treatment.
They need the new devices, they say, to get at militants hiding away inside bunkers.
Remember John Reid telling us in March 2006 that British troops were going in as peacekeepers and would probably "leave without a shot being fired." ?
Sounds awfully like we are about to use the most lethal weapons on the battlefield the clever chemists and weapon technologists have yet devised. At £1,1250 a throw that's good business for our friends in Oslo.
No money in sending troops - just pass the ammunition.