L-168 Recent Developments in IM Bombs

January 2011
Dr Pierre-François Péron (Warhead Technology)

Aircraft bombs were created just before the First World War.  A large variety of bombs has been produced since then all around the world.  Nowadays, the widely used ones in Western countries are Mk-80 series bombs (figure 1): Mk-81 (250 lbs - 118 kg), Mk-82 (500 lbs - 241 kg), Mk 83 (1000 lbs - 447 kg) and Mk-84 (2000 lbs - 894 kg).
In the fifties, these bombs were filled with tritonal (80% TNT - 20% Aluminium) and then H-6 (45% RDX – 30% TNT – 20% Aluminium – 5% Wax) to increase terminal performance.  They, however, had a poor IM signature as shown in table 1.
Over the years, many studies have been carried out to improve the IM signature of these bombs.  In the next sections, you will find details on recent bomb developments carried out with a view to achieve a high IMness level:
- IM explosives for bomb applications;
- Precision Guided Bomb (PGB);
- IM improvement of general purpose (GP) bombs in the US;
- Low Collateral Damage Bomb (BLU-126);
- IM improvement of BLU-109 and BLU-122 bombs;
- Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) Focused Lethality Munition (FLM).