Mark 77 bomb


Mark 77 bomb
A Mark 77 bomb being loaded on an F/A-18 Hornet, 1993.

The Mark 77 bomb (MK-77) is a US 750-lb (340 kg) air-dropped incendiary bomb carrying 110 U.S. gallons (416 L; 92 imp gal) of a fuel gel mix which is the direct successor to napalm.

The MK-77 is the primary incendiary weapon currently in use by the United States military. Instead of the gasoline, polystyrene, and benzene mixture used in napalm bombs, the MK-77 uses kerosene-based fuel with a lower concentration of benzene. The Pentagon has claimed that the MK-77 has less impact on the environment than napalm. The mixture reportedly also contains an oxidizing agent, making it more difficult to put out once ignited, as well as white phosphorus.[1][2]

The effects of MK-77 bombs are so similar to those of napalm that even many members of the U.S. military continue to refer to them as "napalm" bombs in informal situations. The official designation of Vietnam-era napalm bombs was the Mark 47[citation needed].

Use of aerial incendiary bombs against civilian populations, including against military targets in civilian areas, was banned in the 1980 United Nations Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons Protocol III. However the United States reserved the right to use incendiary weapons against military objectives located in concentrations of civilians where it is judged that such use would cause fewer casualties and/or less collateral damage than alternative weapons.[3]

Contents

Use in Iraq and Afghanistan

MK-77s were used by the United States Marine Corps during Operation Desert Storm[4] and Operation Iraqi Freedom.[5] Approximately 500 were dropped, reportedly mostly on Iraqi-constructed oil filled trenches. They were also used at Tora Bora, in Afghanistan.[2]

At least thirty MK-77s were also used by Marine Corps aviators over a three-day period during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, according to a June 2005 letter from the UK Ministry of Defense to former Labour MP Alice Mahon. This letter stated:

"The U.S. destroyed its remaining Vietnam era napalm in 2001 but, according to the reports for I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF) serving in Iraq in 2003, they used a total of 30 MK 77 weapons in Iraq between 31 March and 2 April 2003, against military targets away from civilian areas. The MK 77 firebomb does not have the same composition as napalm, although it has similar destructive characteristics. The Pentagon has told us that owing to the limited accuracy of the MK 77, it is not generally used in urban terrain or in areas where civilians are congregated."[6]

This confirmed previous reports by U.S. Marine pilots and their commanders saying they had used Mark 77 firebombs on military targets:

Then the Marine howitzers, with a range of 30 kilometres, opened a sustained barrage over the next eight hours. They were supported by U.S. Navy aircraft which dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives and napalm, a US officer told the Herald.

"We napalmed both those [bridge] approaches," said Colonel James Alles, commander of Marine Aircraft Group 11. "Unfortunately there were people there ... you could see them in the cockpit video. They were Iraqi soldiers."

According to the Italian public service broadcaster RAI's documentary, MK 77 had been used in Baghdad in 2003 in civilian-populated areas. However, there were never any confirmed reports of the use of incendiaries specifically against civilians.

In some cases where journalists reported that the U.S. military has used napalm, military spokesmen denied the use of "napalm" without making it clear that MK-77 bombs had actually been deployed instead.[2][7]

U.S. officials incorrectly informed UK Ministry of Defence officials that MK-77s had not been used by the U.S. in Iraq, leading to Defence Minister Adam Ingram making inaccurate statements to the UK Parliament in January 2005.[8] Later both Adam Ingram and Secretary of State for Defence John Reid apologized for these inaccurate statements being made to Members of Parliament.

Variants

Later variants of the bomb were modified to carry a reduced load of 75 U.S. gallons (284 L; 62 imp gal) of fuel, which resulted in the total weight decreasing to around 552 pounds (230 kg).

  • Mk 77 Mod 0 - 750 lb (340 kg) total weight with 110 U.S. gallons (416 L; 92 imp gal) of petroleum oil.
  • Mk 77 Mod 1 - 500 lb (230 kg) total weight with 75 U.S. gallons (284 L; 62 imp gal) of petroleum oil.
  • Mk 77 Mod 2
  • Mk 77 Mod 3
  • Mk 77 Mod 4 - Approx 507 lb (230 kg) total weight with 75 U.S. gallons (284 L; 62 imp gal) of fuel (Used during the 1991 Gulf War)
  • Mk 77 Mod 5 - Approx 507 lb (230 kg) kg total weight with 75 U.S. gallons (284 L; 62 imp gal) of JP-4/JP-5 fuel and thickener (Used during the 2003 invasion of Iraq)
  • Mk 78 - 750 lb (340 kg) total weight with 110 U.S. gallons (416 L; 92 imp gal) of petroleum oil. No longer in service.
  • Mk 79 - 1,000 lb (450 kg) total weight with 112 U.S. gallons (424 L; 93 imp gal) of napalm and petrol. No longer in service.

References

  • Army Regulations 600-8-27 dated 2006

End notes

See also

Use in Iraq


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mark 84 bomb — Mark 84 General Purpose (GP) Bomb A Mk 84 GP bomb Type Low drag general purpose bomb Place of origin United States …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 82 bomb — Mark 82 General Purpose (GP) Bomb Mk 82 bomb as displayed on USAF website. Type Low drag general purpose bomb Place of origin Un …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 81 bomb — Mark 81 General Purpose (GP) Bomb Crewmen upload three Mark 81 general purpose high explosive bombs, with Mark 14 TRD (Tail Retarding Device) attached, aboard an A 4F Skyhawk aircraft from Marine Attack Squadron 133 (VMA 133) …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 83 bomb — Mark 83 General Purpose (GP) Bomb Mark 83 1,000 pound general purpose bombs Type Low Drag General Purpose (LDGP) bomb Place of origin …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 118 bomb — M 118 Demolition Bomb M 118 displayed at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio Type Demolition bomb Place of origi …   Wikipedia

  • Mark XIV bomb sight — The Mk. XIVA sighting head, which would be mounted in the front of the aircraft and connected to the computor by the cables coiled up on the left. The main features are the gyrostabilizer in the large cylinder, and the collimator on the moving… …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 15 nuclear bomb — Mark 15 bomb The Mark 15 nuclear bomb, or Mk 15, was a 1950s American thermonuclear bomb, the first relatively lightweight (7,600 lb / 3450 kg) thermonuclear bomb created by the United States. The Mark 15 was first produced in 1955, in a… …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 12 nuclear bomb — The Mark 12 nuclear bomb was a US designed and manufactured lightweight nuclear bomb which was built starting in 1954 and saw service from then until 1962. For unknown reasons, the design was nicknamed Brok . The Mark 12 was notable for being a… …   Wikipedia

  • Mark 82 — Bomba Mk 82. Tipo Bomba de propósito general País de origen …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mark XIV — or Mark 14 often refers to the 14th version of a product, frequently military hardware. Mark , meaning model or variant , can be abbreviated Mk. Mark XIV or Mark 14 can specifically refer to: Contents 1 In technology 1.1 In military and weap …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.