British Army deploys thermo-barbaric weapons


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

British Army deploys new weapon based on mass-killing technology
08/23/2007 @ 9:32 am
Filed by John Byrne

Parliament not told, minister says

A new 'super-weapon' being supplied to British soldiers in Afghanistan employs 
technology based on the "thermobaric" principle which uses heat and pressure to 
kill people targeted across a wide air by sucking the air out of lungs and 
rupturing internal organs.

The so-called "enhanced blast" weapon uses similar technology used in the US 
"bunker busting" bombs and the devastating bombs dropped by the Russians to 
destroy the Chechen capital, Grozny.

Such weapons are brutally effective because they first disperse a gas or 
chemical agent which is lit at a second stage, allowing the blast to fill the 
spaces of a building or the crevices of a cave. When the US military deployed a 
version of these weapons in 2005, DefenseTech wrote an article titled, "Marines 
Quiet About Brutal New Weapon."

According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which released a study on 
thermobaric weapons in 1993, "The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets 
is unique--and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more 
importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.Š If 
the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and 
will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, 
ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should 
prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents."

A second DIA study said, "shock and pressure waves cause minimal damage to brain
tissue... it is possible that victims of FAEs are not rendered unconscious by 
the blast, but instead suffer for several seconds or minutes while they 

"The effect of an FAE explosion within confined spaces is immense," said a CIA 
study of the weapons. "Those near the ignition point are obliterated. Those at 
the fringe are likely to suffer many internal, and thus invisible injuries, 
including burst eardrums and crushed inner ear organs, severe concussions, 
ruptured lungs and internal organs, and possibly blindness."

British defense officials told the UK Guardian that British bombs were 

"They are optimized to create blast [rather than heat]", one said, speaking on 
the standard condition of anonymity in Britain. The official added that it would
be misleading to call them "thermobaric."

Officials told the Guardian the new weapon was classified as a soldier launched 
"light anti-structure munition" and that the bombs would be more effective 
because "even when they hit the damage is limited to a confined area."

"The continuing issue of civilian casualties in Afghanistan has enormous 
importance in the battle for hearts and minds," said Liberal Democrat leader Sir
Menzies Campbell in the article. "If these weapons contribute to the deaths of 
civilians then a primary purpose of the British deployment is going to be made 
yet more difficult."

According to Campbell, the deployment of the weapons was not announced to 

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