Two U.S. B-52 bombers drop live cluster bombs during unique night mission

U.S. has not signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions hence B-52 Stratofortress bombers have to train with this kind of weapons.

After spending some weeks training with (simulated) nuclear weapons, on Feb. 11, two B-52s from the 23rd Bomb Squadron, Minot Air Force Base, successfully dropped conventional cluster bombs during a night training mission over the Nevada Test and Training Range.

The two Stratofortress bombers used their payload made of a Cluster Bomb Unit-103 and two CBU-87B munitions; a “unique opportunity” since the Squadron only gets to drop these munitions no more than twice each year.

Furthermore these were live weapons, while aircrews usually practice with simulated munitions.

The CBU-87B is an all-purpose, air-delivered cluster weapon system; when used in conjunction with the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser (WCMD) guidance tail kit, which includes a GPS (Global Positioning System) it becomes is designated CBU-103.

According to the aircrews who employed the cluster bombs on the Nevada range, the CBU-103 “was a direct hit that would have destroyed its intended target.

CBU-87s have replaced previous Cluster Bombs Units used during the Vietnam War in 1986. As already mentioned, U.S. is not among the major powers that have signed the 2010’s Convention on Cluster Munitons to ban use and stockpiling of cluster weapons.

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Image credit: U.S. Air Force


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.