Published on Tuesday, November 6, 2001 by the Associated Press
World's Largest Non-Nuclear Weapon
U.S. Dropping Huge Bomb on Taliban
WASHINGTON - With its use of the 15,000-pound ``daisy cutter'' bomb in Afghanistan, the United States has unleashed one of its most powerful weapons - billed as the world's largest conventional bomb.
The BLU-82 combines a watery mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum with air, then ignites the mist for a huge explosion that incinerates everything within up to 600 yards. The shock wave can be felt miles away.
The BLU-82 uses about six times the amount of ammonium nitrate explosive that Timothy McVeighused in the bomb that blew up the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995.
BLU-82 Commando Vault
Federation of American Scientists
First created during the Vietnam War to quickly clear jungle landing zones, the daisy cutter also was used against Iraqi troops during the Gulf War. Reports from the ground in Afghanistan indicate the huge bombs have been used against front-line Taliban positions.
The bombs cost about $27,000 each. They are dropped from a C-130 cargo plane flying at least 6,000 feet off the ground, to avoid the bomb's massive shock wave. Each is more than 17 feet long and 5 feet in diameter - about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle but far heavier.
Copyright 2001 Associated Press