U.S. runs live test of new bomb against insurgents in Faluja

Friday, October 15, 2004

The U.S. military has used Iraq to test a precision bomb designed for targets in urban areas and producing minimal collateral damage.

The U.S. Air Force has conducted the first successful drop of a GBU-38 bomb in combat during a recent mission in Iraq. The bombs were deployed on two F-16 multi-role fighters, which performed a simultaneous GBU-38 release on the same target in central Iraq.

Officials said the 500-pound bombs precisely hit a two-story building occupied by the Tawhid and Jihad group in Faluja with minimal collateral damage. They said this was the first time a GBU-38 was deployed in a demonstration of a smaller munition meant to reduce collateral damage in urban areas, Middle East Newsline reported.

"This was the right weapon for the job," the lead pilot who carried out the mission, identified only as Lt. Col. Mitch, said. "If we used any bigger of a bomb, we would have caused unnecessary damage."

Officials said the GBU-38 provides the U.S. military with a smaller precision weapon for use against urban targets. They said the bomb, which could be deployed on the F-16, would allow for precision strikes at night.

The GBU-38 is composed of an MK-82 with the Joint Direct Attack Munitions guidance system. Officials said the GBU-38 was regarded as much lighter and easier to assemble than most of the other munitions loaded on F-16s. The GBU-38 was said to be significantly smaller and lighter than the GBU-12 and the GBU-31.

"This is a relatively easy bomb to drop," Mitch said. "We simply set the coordinates and deliver the bomb. There's a slight shake in the jet as the bomb is released because [of] the sudden weight reduction, which happens after every drop."

The bomb has been sought by Middle East allies.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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