An Army of One
First the Army will have them (Done. Up to 2000 pounds worth in a single 'bunker-buster'). Then individual American soldiers will have them (by 2006). Wanna bet that even before that, some middle Eastern 'freedom fighters' have 'em too? Thermobaric weapons... yet another American technological means of 'keeping the peace'. Damned if we do. Damned if we don't.
"With the M16 (rifle, the American infantry's longtime standard), it took a considerable amount of ammunition to take out a squad of people," said Patrick Garrett, an analyst with Globalsecurity.org. "With this air-bursting ammunition, the XM29 will be able to put those people on the ground in one shot."
The XM29 -- which won't make it into soldiers' hands until 2006 -- gets even deadlier when thermobaric ammunition is added.
Thermobarics inject a fine, flammable mist into the air, Brigety said. Once ignited, the mist creates a mammoth fireball and pressure wave that's nearly impossible to avoid. The mist can travel around corners and into hidden crannies. And it burns relatively slowly, so jumping out of the way on the bomb's initial impact isn't much of a survival tactic.
Once the fire dies down, the mist sucks all of the oxygen out of the confined space. Those who manage to escape the thermobaric flames and pressure waves quickly expire from asphyxiation.