"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, August 23, 2007

"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. [84849]

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/

Thermobaric weapons

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.


Stef said...

alternatively, we could kit our forces out with the TBG-7V thermobaric warhead fitted to the same Soviet-designed RPG-7s their opponents are using

the Russians, after all, have learned a thing or two about street fighting over the years


RPG-7s are more lethal, more reliable, cost a tenth as much as a LAWS and are reusable

and therefore a lot less profitable

when you're fighting for a society that's driven by consumption of overpriced, disposable crap why should the weapons you use be any different?

Stef said...

and call me old-fashioned but given the strategy, tactics and weapons we're now using in Afghanistan isn't it about time the media rehabilitated that much-neglected expression 'War of Attrition'?

Or is the fighting in Afghanistan really something more than merely trying to kill 'them' at a faster rate than they are killing 'us'?

Shutter said...

Whatever the reason we are fighting for in Afghanistan is soemthing which our political leaders have refrained from sharing with us... and probably the miliary as well.

Unless one cynically assumes it is to help protect the illegal drug trade.... and why would (say) the CIA want to do that ?

Anonymous said...

From the archives UK dealers sell 'vacuum bombs' to Sri Lanka
" British arms dealers have used a loophole in British law secretly to sell fuel-air weapons for use against Tamil Tiger insurgents in Sri Lanka, the Guardian can reveal. Human rights groups have called for such weapons, which are also known as vacuum bombs, to be banned. The force of fuel-air blasts can burst eyeballs out of their sockets and crush other internal organs.

Brokering arms sales from Britain in this way without a UK export licence is not illegal but is due to become so under laws first promised by Labour in 1996. The export control bill has still not been passed and Britain continues to be one of the arms dealing centres of the world.

The sale, which took place in June, was of 1,000 shoulder-launched rockets with fuel-air warheads, a unique Russian design built for use by Soviet forces against mojahedin fighters hiding in caves in Afghanistan.

The fuel-air weapons were also reported to have been fired by Russian soldiers in an assault on Grozny, Chechnya, in 1999.
In documents supplied to the Sri Lankan government, the British arms firm calls itself Gladstone Industrial Holdings Ltd and has a London address. This title conceals an apparently derelict shopfront in Catford, south London, occupied by Robert Kweku Hanson, who owns a small commodities company, Premier Distribution (UK and Europe) Ltd, and lives in a modest semi in Orpington, Kent. Mr Hanson, who is not willing to comment, appears to be little more than a front.

Nor is Gladstone a British company - it is registered in the Caribbean island of Grenada, a secretive offshore tax haven blacklisted by the intergovernmental Financial Action Task Force.

The trail of ownership goes back to two men. One is a director of a garment company which supplies Marks & Spencer, the other an arms dealer in north London with a selection of old Soviet and modern Russian military stock for sale.
Rapierbase Ltd - the arms dealership - is controlled by a British subject, Ameer Temour, who lives in a large house in Chase Side, Southgate, north London, with a Rolls-Royce parked in the forecourt.

In the early 1990s he gained contracts to dismantle rusting Soviet-era weaponry in the new republics of Belarus and Ukraine, briefly working with the big US arms firm Alliant Technosystems.
He now offers arms for sale ranging from Kalashnikov assault rifles to T90 tanks. He also advertises consignments of wheat from Kazakhstan and cartons of cigarettes from Pakistan.

His partner, whose connections clinched the deal with Sri Lanka, was a former army officer there, Lieutenant-Colonel Upali Gajanayake. He is a director of a company which assembles garments for Marks & Spencer.
The consignment of fuel-air rocket launchers they obtained was old Ukrainian military stock, flown directly to Sri Lanka by cargo plane.
*** "

Also see nice picture with pretty poppies

Shutter said...

Thnx for that Anon. The relentlessly upbeat assessments from the likes of Des "Ispeak your weight" Brown and others is difficult to grasp or understand.

There was an ezcellent piee on BBC 4 "The Week in Politics" Saturday 25th (available on BBC website for 7 days only. Liz McDonald at the start of the programme interviews a sceptical Rory Stewart who has been a soldier in Afghanistan , also attached to FCO who tries to explain the confsion over objectives of NATO forces.

Well worth listening to.

Shutter said...

Apologies - the show is "Talking Politics" the lady is Sheena McDonald and due to the lack of wonders of modern technology a lot of Radio 4 shows cannot be heard - including Sat 26th... keep looking.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish