The thermobaric bomb is just about the most vicious weapon you can imagine -- igniting the air, sucking the oxygen out of an enclosed area, and creating a massive pressure wave crushing anything unfortunate enough to have lived through the conflagration.So pray -- pray hard -- that this Defense News story is all wrong:
Thermobaric bombs, which the U.S. military is striving to perfect, may also be emerging as a weapon of choice for terrorists, according to a bomb expert at Battelle, a research institute...There have been no attacks with thermobaric bombs in the United States, but their use is suspected in many terrorist bombings in Russia and other countries and proven in a few cases, said Tom Burky, Battelles top explosives expert.Thermobarics use an explosion to ignite fuel, often metallic fuel such as aluminum. The burning fuel creates a slower and more sustained shock wave than a conventional explosion, which makes it better at breaking down walls and destroying people and equipment, Burky said.Thermobaric explosives have been used... for decades by non-NATO militaries. In the 1960s, the former Soviet Union developed a variety of thermobaric weapons, including shoulder-fired weapons and artillery shells.The U.S. military didnt get interested in them until the 1990s. The U.S. Air Force developed a big thermobaric bomb to drop into caves in Afghanistan, and the Army is working on a thermobaric 25mm round...Much of the information about thermobaric weapons has been classified. Thats a problem for homeland security first responders such as police and firefighters, Burky said. They are not being provided with important information about thermobaric weapons, such as safe standoff distances, how the much more powerful blast of a thermobaric weapon would be deflected and channeled by buildings and how to render thermobaric weapons safe, he said.