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US navy eyes 'dial-a-blast' bomb to minimize civilian casualties

By Samyuktha
Google Oneindia News

London, Sep 11 (ANI): The US navy is planning to develop a bomb whose damage can be controlled and manipulated.

The navy is looking to create a bomb weighing 200 kilograms that can either be detonated at full or reduced power.

The idea is that the device could be loaded onto planes before a target has been identified, and the explosive power set by the pilot once a target is known, reports New Scientist.

If there is a risk of killing civilians, then the explosive power can be reduced to ensure a small blast radius.

In an unpopulated area the bomb, currently known as the Selectable Output Weapon, could be set so that it has the same power as a regular bomb of the same size.

ATK, a defence manufacturer based in Plymouth, Minnesota, has alreadt come up with the technology to do the job.

Its approach is based on the principle that explosives can burn in two different ways.

One is via detonation, in which the flame front moves at supersonic speed and produces a powerful blast.

The other is deflagration, or subsonic burning, which causes little or no blast.

Although a device like this would help minimising civilian casualties, it will place also a burden on the pilot to get the setting right, said John Pike, a defence analyst with Washington DC think tank GlobalSecurity.org.

"There is always the risk of selecting the wrong yield," he said.

The big advantage for the military is that it would allow aircraft to "take off without knowing what sort of targets will be attacked", added Pike. (ANI)

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