Tip of the Iceberg? - suspected use of Depleted Uranium in smart bomb and missile systems

The following information (direct quotes from Internet sources) suggests
that Depleted Uranium (DU) may have been in much wider use since 1998
that previously thought.  If DU is the "dense metal" referred to it
has radical implications for the total tonnage of DU used in the Balkans
war and the location of DU contaminated targets in Kosovo and Serbia.
This would invalidate the UNEP studies of DU target zones in the Balkans
and increase the hazards faced by local communities, Nato and KFOR
troops in the vicinity of bomb and missile targets.  The nature of the
weapons systems involved would involve far wider
atmospheric dispersion of DU oxide than from the 30 mm anti-tank shell
targets inspected by UNEP.  "Dense metal" may have been used for its
enhanced penetration effect in earlier versions of some of these
systems. A review is needed of the materials specifications of all bomb
and missile systems in use since 1990 and used in earlier conflicts.

The "dense metal" referred to will be known by manufacturers and
Government departments so it should be fairly easy for elected
representatives in Nato countries to establish the facts.  Although the
systems described or proposed are mainly from the US inventory
including components supplied by UK manufacturers similar technology
is likely to be under development by  weapons manufacturers in other
countries.

These questions could have profound implications for
international control of the proliferation of Depleted Uranium weapons
systems.   They may explain the reluctance of the US and UK
Governments to consider a global ban on DU munitions. They are offered
to DU List subscribers for comment and clarification.

Dai Williams, DU researcher, UK.



Extracts from Janes' Defence website

DU is a heavy metal that, when alloyed with titanium (up to 0.75% by
weight), becomes a material with a density (18,600kg/m3) and
ductility suited to making penetrators for kinetic energy anti-tank
munitions, or liners for shaped-charge warheads.

During the Balkans operations from 1992 to 1996, only the US Air
Force acknowledges its use in some of its 30mm cannon shells
fired from the GAU-8A cannon. It is true that some guided weapons
used depleted uranium to increase the penetration effect and that
the 20mm Phalanx close-in weapon system, used to protect
warships at sea from sea-skimming missiles, also has a
percentage of DU rounds.

http://www.janes.com/defence/news/jdw/jdw010108_1_n.shtml
 

Questions

   1.Which of the following systems use Depleted Uranium as the
     "dense metal" referred to?
   2.How many of these system concepts have been produced in
     prototype or production form?
   3.How many of these systems or their derivatives have been
     used in military operations since Operation Desert Storm?
   4.How many countries have stocks of these systems?
 
 

High penetration weapon system concepts / plans
(including "dense metal" penetrators)

[Air Force Mission Area Plan (MAP)]

 

ANNEX F Common Solution/Concept List (U)
[as of 11 July 1997 - Rev 10]

Extracts from:

http://fas.org/man/dod-101/usaf/docs/mast/annex_f/part26.htm

 

 

Summary

  WPNS Project #
                          Device
                                              Delivery
                                                                   Notes
  104
                   20,000 lb direct attack
                   bomb
                                         B-52, B-2
                                                             Dense metal ballast
  113
                   2250 lb guided bomb
                   unit (gbu) - boosted
                   penetrator warhead
                                         F-117
                                         F-16, F/A-18C/D
                                         B-52, B-2
                                                             Dense metal
                                                             warhead
  114
                   1000 lb GBU-32
                   dense or ballasted
                   penetrator
                                         F22, JSF
                                         F-15, F-16, F117
                                         B-1, B-2, B-522
                                                             Dense metal case
                                                             or dense metal
                                                             ballast for maximum
                                                             penetration
  115
                   1000 lb penetrator
                   with precursor in
                   GBU-32. Multistage
                   warhead:
                                         F22
                                                             shaped charges with
                                                             follow through
                                                             penetrator. (see
                                                             BROACH)
  158
                   LODIS/SWAK/DASS/
                   Boosted Penetrator.
                   High leverage
                   munitions, mini
                   missiles, Small Smart
                   Bomb 250 lb.
                                         Potential payload for
                                         Tomahawk
                                                             High density
                                                             payloads. Same
                                                             penetration
                                                             capabilities as a
                                                             2000 lb BLU-109
                                                             but with only 50 lb of
                                                             explosives.
  169
                   JASSM (Joint
                   Air-to-Surface Missile)
                   P31 1000 lb
                   advanced penetrator.

                   The next generation
                   cruise missile.
                                         B-52, F-16, F/A-18

                                         B-1, B-2, F-15E,
                                         F117

                                         S3, P3, JSF
                                                             Dense metal case
                                                             or dense metal
                                                             ballast for maximum
                                                             penetration.
  170
                   Unitary CALCM -
                   Block II (became
                   AGM-86D). Shaped
                   charge precursor.
                   Precision Strike
                   variant. Feasibility
                   concluded April 97.
                   FCT - UK BROACH
                   warhead .
                                         B-52
                                                             Block II programme
                                                             incorporates a
                                                             penetrating
                                                             warhead.
  506
                   AUP 1000 Advance
                   Unitary Penetrator.
                   2000 lb class
                   penetrator
                   Replaces BLU-109.
                                         Option to BROACH
                                         for CALCM

                                         B-52
                                                             Applications
                                                             requiring increased
                                                             penetration.
  510
                   JASSM w/multistage
                   warhead GBU-32.
                   Develops the
                   BROACH warhead for
                   possible use on
                   numerous platforms.
                                         Multiple
                                                             Dual stage, shaped
                                                             charge with
                                                             follow-through
                                                             penetrator.
 

 WPNS104 -- 20,000 Pound Direct Strike hard Target Weapon

DESCRIPTION: This concept is a 20,000 lb. class precision guided,
adverse weather, direct attack bomb employed on the B-52 and B-2
aircraft. It will make use of the GCU developed by the JDAM program
which uses GPS aided INS for adverse weather guidance. Precision
accuracy will be attained by using differential GPS (DGPS) technology
demonstrated on programs such as Enhanced Differential GPS for
Guidance Enhancement (EDGE) and Miniature Munition Technology
Demonstration (MMTD). The weapon will make use of the JDAM interface
under development for the B-52 and B-2 aircraft and would be carried
internally using new suspension hardware within the bay. The warhead
will be a 20,000 lb. penetrator with dense metal ballast. This
concept uses the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an
accelerometer based electronic fuze which allows control of the
detonation point by layer counting, distance or time. The
accelerometer senses G loads on the bomb due to deceleration as
it penetrates through to the target. The fuze can distinguish between
earth, concrete, rock and air.

 

           WPNS113 -- 2250 lb Boosted Penetrator

DESCRIPTION: The boosted penetrator is based on achieving
maximum penetration without sacrificing operational flexibility. Total
system weight will be less than 2,250 pounds so that it can be
carried by all AF tactical aircraft and bombers as well as the Navyís
F/A-18. The goal is to achieve greater penetration than the GBU-28
with a near term, affordable design. A dense metal warhead will be
used with a wraparound rocket motor to allow internal carriage in
the F-117. Advanced explosives will be used to compensate for the
reduced charge weight. This concept integrates the boosted
penetrator warhead with a JDAM guidance kit with an adverse
weather Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR). JDAM utilizes a GPS
aided INS packaged in a tailkit for accurate navigation and
guidance in adverse weather and other battlefield obscurants. The
SAR seeker mitigates target location errors and GPS errors
improving overall system accuracy. Employing the seeker also
gives JDAM a capability against the GPS jamming threat. JDAM is
an autonomous direct attack weapon integrated on F-16 C/D,
F/A-18 C/D, B-52, F-117, and B-2 aircraft with plans for integration
on F-15E and B-1. It is capable of inflight (in route to target area)
retargeting and engagement of both horizontal and vertical targets.
This concept uses the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an
accelerometer based electronic fuze which allows control of the
detonation point by layer counting, distance or time. The
accelerometer senses G loads on the bomb due to deceleration as
it penetrates through to the target. The fuze can distinguish between
earth, concrete, rock and air.

 

 WPNS114 -- 1000 lb Dense or Ballasted Penetrator in GBU-32

DESCRIPTION: This concept is a 1000 pound dense or ballasted
penetrator integrated with a GBU-32 guidance kit using
compressed carriage for internal carriage in advanced fighters
(F-22, JSF) or carriage in cruise missiles (JASSM, CALCM, ACM,
ATACMS, Tomahawk.) The warhead would either be designed with
a dense metal case or contain dense metal ballast for maximum
penetration. The warhead will be filled with an advanced insensitive
explosive to compensate for the reduced charge weight. The
warhead will be integrated with the GBU-32, the JDAM tail kit for
1,000 lb class warheads. JDAM utilizes a GPS aided INS
packaged in a tailkit for accurate navigation and guidance in
adverse weather and other battlefield obscurants, day or night
operations. JDAM is capable of inflight (in route to target area)
retargeting and engagement of both horizontal and vertical targets.
This weapon is designed for internal carriage on the F-22. It is also
compatible with the following aircraft: F-15E, F-16, F-117, JSF, B-1,
B-2, B-52H, F-14, F/A-18, S3, P3, AV-8B. This concept uses the
Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an accelerometer based
electronic fuze which allows control of the detonation point by layer
counting, distance or time. The accelerometer senses G loads on
the bomb due to deceleration as it penetrates through to the target.
The fuze can distinguish between earth, concrete, rock and air.

   WPNS115 -- 1000 lb Penetrator with Precursor in GBU-32

DESCRIPTION: This concept is a 1000 pound multistage warhead
involving two shaped charges with a follow through penetrator
warhead. The warhead will be integrated with the GBU-32, the
JDAM tail kit for 1,000 lb. class warheads. JDAM utilizes a GPS
aided INS packaged in a tailkit for accurate navigation and
guidance in adverse weather and other battlefield obscurants, day
or night operations. JDAM is capable of inflight (in route to target
area) retargeting and engagement of both horizontal and vertical
targets. This weapon is designed for internal carriage on the F-22. It
is also compatible with the following aircraft: F-15E, F-16, F-117,
JSF, B-1, B-2, B-52H, F-14, F/A-18, S3, P3, AV-8B. This concept
uses the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an accelerometer based
electronic fuze which allows control of the detonation point by layer
counting, distance or time. The accelerometer senses G loads on
the bomb due to deceleration as it penetrates through to the target.
The fuze can distinguish between earth, concrete, rock and air.

 

    WPNS158 -- LODIS/SWAK/DASSL/Boosted Penetrator

DESCRIPTION: The High Leverage Munitions (HLM) concepts are
a class of next generation weapons designed to efficiently package
small, highly lethal mini missiles of the future. They employ direct
dispense technology being developed under WL/MN Low Cost
Dispensing (LODIS) program as a means of high density loadouts
for both internal and external carriage. This low observable/low drag
container is capable of incremental or salvo dispensing and has
virtual interface capability. Air bags are used to eject the mini
missiles. The dispenser serves as a shipping/stores container.
Electrical interface to the mini missiles is made via a single 1553
bus. This concept integrates Small Smart Bombs with LODIS for
attacking fixed targets. The Small Smart Bomb is a 250 pound
weapon that has the same penetration capabilities as a 2000lb
BLU-109, but with only 50 pounds of explosive. With the INS/GPS
guidance in conjunction with differential GPS (using all 12 channel
receivers, instead of only 5) corrections provided by GPS SPO
Accuracy Improvement Initiative (AII) and improved Target Location
Error (TLE), it can achieve a 5-8m CEP. The submunition, with a
smart fuze, has been extensively tested against multi-layered
targets by Wright Laboratory under the Hard Target Ordnance
Program and Miniature Munitions Technology Program. The length
to diameter ratio and nose shape are designed to optimize
penetration for a 50lb charge. This weapon is also a potential
payload for standoff carrier vehicles such as Tomahawk, JSOW,
JASSM, Conventional ICBM, etc. This concept upgrades the SSB
to add a low cost solid state LADAR (LASER RADAR), which is a
terminal, autonomous seeker that is used in the guidance near the
end of flight in order to take out the Target Location Error. This
seeker is based on the Wright Lab Demonstration of Advanced
Solid State LADAR (DASSL) program. The LADAR will provide a
three dimensional image of the target. Coupled with INS/GPS
during the midcourse guidance, this terminal seeker can reduce the
CEP to <3m. This concept incorporates a solid rocket motor to
increase the impact velocity of the SSB which will result in
increased penetration performance. Two designs are under
investigation; one with an inline motor and the other with a wrap
around rocket motor to minimize total weapon length. The inline
design was extensively tested against multi-layered targets during
WL Hard Target Ordnance Program.

 

             WPNS169 -- JASSM P3I Penetrator

DESCRIPTION: This concept is a P3I to the Joint Air-to-Surface
Standoff Missile (JASSM) to replace the baseline warhead with an
advanced penetrator that meets or exceeds the objective
penetration requirement specified in the JASSM Operational
Requirements Document (ORD) and to add a synthetic aperture
radar (SAR) seeker for adverse weather precision attack capability.
JASSM is the next generation cruise missile to destroy the enemies
war-sustaining capabilities outside the ranges of the area air
defenses. The Standoff capability allows us to target key enemy
centers of gravity without putting the warfighter in harms way, well
beyond the range of current assets. The warhead concept is a 1000
pound dense or ballasted penetrator. The warhead would either be
designed with a dense metal case or contain dense metal ballast
for maximum penetration. The warhead will be filled with advanced
insensitive explosive to compensate for the reduced charge weight.
The JASSM will be compatible with the B-52, F-16, F/A-18
(threshold), B-1, B-2, F-15E, F-117, S3, P3 and JSF (objective).
This concept uses the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF), an
accelerometer based electronic fuze which allows control of the
detonation point by layer counting, distance or time. The
accelerometer senses G loads on the bomb due to deceleration as
it penetrates through to the target. The fuze can distinguish between
earth, concrete, rock and air.

 

 WPNS170--UNITARY CALCM--BLOCKII with Shaped Charge
                         Precursor

DESCRIPTION: The Conventional Air Launched Cruise Missile
(CALCM) is a highly affordable, very long range standoff missile
which is produced by modifying surplus AGM 86B, Air Launched
Cruise Missiles (ALCM). The CALCM Block I missile, currently in
production, incorporates a 3000 LB Class blast fragmentation
warhead and Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for
navigation. The Block I system, when launched from CONUS based
B-52 aircraft is highly effective against soft, above ground targets
like Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAM) or radar sites. The Block II
program is the Precision Strike variant of CALCM. It incorporates a
penetrating warhead, updated state of the art, near-precision, GPS
guidance, and a modified terminal area flight profile to maximize the
effectiveness of the warhead. The penetrating warhead is
augmented with two forward shape charges. To maximize the
warheads effectiveness against hardened targets, the Block II will
maneuver and dive onto its target in a near vertical orientation. The
updated guidance system will increase the systems lethality by
obtaining a less than 5 meter CEP.

The Precision Strike variant of CALCM was successfully
demonstrated in December 1996. A CALCM modified with a new
precision GPS implementation flew for 4.5 hours, performed a
newly developed steep terminal dive, and impacted the target within
2.5 meters of the aim point. The demonstration clearly showed that
CALCM is capable of delivering itís warhead with precision
accuracy from extremely long standoff ranges.

A feasibility study was concluded in April 1997, in which it was
determined the BROACH Warhead on CALCM would offer very
significant hard target capabilities. Foreign Comparative Test
(FCT) funds have been provided by DoD for a demonstration of the
UKís BROACH Warhead. The FCT will conclude in early 1998.

The current Block II program is structured for EMD to begin in first
quarter FY99 with missile production to commence in third quarter
FY00. Total procurement is for 130 missiles.

JUSTIFICATION:

This program will provide the warfighter a hard and deeply buried
target defeat capability from outside theater defenses. The Block II
CALCM will be capable of holding at risk high priority assets
essential to the enemyís warfighting ability. The system can
prosecute these target from standoff ranges well outside theater
defenses thereby ensuring deploying aircraft are not placed in
harms way.

PROGRAM ELEMENT: PE 27323F

ISSUES:

* Air Staff, XORBP, is working a ZBT initiative to move the $9.4
million of FY00 RDT&E funds to the 3020 procurement line to fill the
$18.5 million requirement.

** Quantities are based on a maximum procurement cost of $372K.

REFERENCES: (Provide the following information, if relevant.)

MNS Number & Title: ORD Number & Title:

CAF (SAC 010-88) -I/II/III-A

FOR CALCM, ACAT III

1067 Number & Title: Development Plan Date & Title:

Current CINC IPL:

ACC PEM Name: MR. MIKE BATA, DRPW, x5270 PEM Backup
Name: MAJ ROSS, x3857

 

      WPNS506 -- AUP 1000 pound Warhead Development

DESCRIPTION: Advanced Unitary Penetrator (AUP) is a 2000lb
class penetrator warhead intended as an upgrade/replacement for
the BLU-109 warhead in applications requiring increased
penetration. The AUP is designed to provide increased penetration
capability over the BLU-109 warhead while maintaining the same
overall weight, mass properties, dimensions, and physical
interfaces associated with the BLU-109. This warhead is
compatible with the Hard Target Smart Fuze (HTSF) or the Joint
Programmable Fuze (JPF). The HTSF is an accelerometer based
electronic fuze which allows control of the detonation point by layer
counting, distance or time. The accelerometer senses G loads on
the bomb due to deceleration as it penetrates through to the target.
The fuze can distinguish between earth, concrete, rock and air.

 

     WPNS510 -- JASSM w/multi-Stage Warhead, GBU-32

DESCRIPTION: Program develops the BROACH warhead for
possible use on numerous platforms. BROACH is a dual stage,
shaped charge with a follow through penetrator.
 

ANNEX F Common Solution/Concept List (U)
[as of 11 July 1997 - Rev 10]

http://fas.org/man/dod-101/usaf/docs/mast/annex_f/index.html
 

Related sources

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/index.html

http://fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/smart/agm-86c.htm - AGM-86C/D

http://www.af.mil/news/factsheets/GBU_15.html - variant BLU 109

http://www.af.mil/news/factsheets/AGM_65_Maverick.html - variants
E/F/G/K 300 lb

http://www.boeing.com/news/releases/1999/news_release_991202o.htm
- Boeing chooses UAP9 for AGM-86D