M117 bomb


M117 bomb
M117
M117 bomb.jpg
Type free-fall general-purpose bomb
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1960's–present
Used by United States
Wars Korean War , Vietnam War
Production history
Variants M117R, M117D
Specifications
Weight 340 kg
Length 2.06 m-2.16 m
Diameter 408 mm

Maximum range Varies by method of employment

Wingspan 520 mm
An F-100D of the 308th TFS, being loaded with Mk 117 750 lb bombs at Tuy Hoa, South Vietnam, in early 1966.

The M117 is an air-dropped general-purpose bomb used by United States military forces. It dates back to the time of the Korean War of the early 1950s. Although it has a nominal weight of 750 lb (343 kg), its actual weight, depending on fuze and retardation options, is around 820 lb (373 kg). Its explosive content is typically 403 lb (183 kg) of Minol 2 or Tritonal. It can also be configured with a low-drag tail fin for medium and high-altitude deliveries.[1]

Contents

History

In the 1950s through the early 1970s the M117 was a standard aircraft weapon, carried by the F-100 Super Sabre, F-104 Starfighter, F-105 Thunderchief, F-111, and F-4 Phantom.

The M117 series was used extensively during the Vietnam War, and B-52G Stratofortress aircraft dropped 44,600 M117 and M117R bombs during Operation Desert Storm.[1]

At present it is used only by the B-52 Stratofortress, tactical aircraft now tend to use the Mark 80-series bombs (particularly the Mark 82 (500 lb) bomb or Mark 84 (2,000 lb) bomb and their guided equivalents).

Variants

M117R

The M117R (R - Retarded) uses a special fin assembly providing either high-drag or low-drag release options. For low altitude deliveries, the tail assembly opens four large drag plates which rapidly slow the bomb and allow the aircraft to escape its blast.[1]

MAU-103/MAU-91

The M117Rs that are fitted with tail units, are the MAU-103 low drag tail and the MAU-91 high drag tail, respectively.[2]

M117D

The M117D (D - Destructor) looks similar to the M117R but uses a magnetic influence fuze, which enables the bomb to function as an mine. The M117D is released in a high-drag configuration for ground implant or shallow water mining. It detonates when an object passing near the bomb triggers the fuze.[1]

MC-1

The M117 was the basis of the MC-1 chemical warfare bomb, which had the body cavity filled with sarin nerve gas. The MC-1 was never used by the U.S. in combat and was eliminated from the U.S. stockpile in June, 2006.[3].

M117 General Purpose Bomb

The M117 is a free-fall, unguided, general purpose [GP] 750-pound bomb. Its usual fuzes are the mechanical M904 (nose) and M905 (tail), or the mechanical FMU-54 (tail). The M117 is employed in several configurations.

The basic M117 dates from the Korean War and uses a low-drag tail fin for medium and high-altitude deliveries.

The M117R (Retarded) uses a special fin assembly providing either high-drag or low-drag release options. For low altitude deliveries, the tail assembly opens four large drag plates which rapidly slow the bomb and allow the aircraft to escape its blast.

The M117D (Destructor) is similar to the M117R but uses a magnetic influence fuze which enables the bomb to function as a mine. The M117D is released in a high-drag configuration for ground implant or shallow water mining. It detonates when an object passing near the bomb triggers the fuze.

The M117 series was used extensively during the Vietnam War, and B-52G aircraft dropped thousands of tons of M117 and M117R bombs during Operation Desert Storm. The B-52s dropped virtually all of the M117 bombs during Desert Storm.

With the receipt of a contract in 1995 to perform demilitarization on 750-pound Tritonal filled bombs, Crane Army Ammunition Activity designed and developed a process that allows the explosive material to be removed through the nose of the bomb skin, eliminating the need for a separate facility to remove the base of the bomb.

The traditional approach to the demilitarization of a 750-pound Tritonal-filled bomb at Crane Army Ammunition Activity (CAAA) or any other government facility was open detonation or manual extraction by cutting off the base of the bomb and steam- or autoclave-out the explosive material. There were several drawbacks to both methods. With open detonation, neither the explosive nor the metallic container could be recovered, the emissions required extensive tracking and reporting to the proper authorities, and weather conditions determined the work schedule. The second method required the base of the bomb to be removed with a power metal bomb saw. The operator would have to set up the operation at one facility and then move to a remote facility to view the actual cutting process by video transmission. The resultant residue in the water from this cutting procedure also required purification.

CAAA did not have the facility for the treatment of the water nor a bomb saw. It is estimated that such a facility would cost $500,000. With the receipt of a contract in 1995 to perform demilitarization on 750-pound Tritonal filled bombs, CAAA designed and developed a conduit cutting tool that is inserted into the nose cavity liner and manually cuts the swaged tubing. This approach is done by removing the nose fuze wall liner, and using a high-pressure waterjet nozzle to remove the tar nose pad. The bomb is then placed nose first into an autoclave explosive collection system to melt out the Tritonal explosive material under controlled heat and pressure procedures. The explosive is then pumped to a holding vacuum to bring the moisture content down to an acceptable level where it is transported to a conveyor belt for additional cooling prior to packaging for shipment. This extraction method allows the explosive and the metal bomb skin to be recycled commercially, with the option of retaining small donor quantities of Tritonal explosives for use in other open detonation applications at CAAA. Secondly, the handling of the explosive articles is reduced by 50%, and has shown a four to six times faster turnaround in the meltout operation over steam wand applications.

Since the introduction of the Autoclave Bomb Meltout System in 1996, more than nine million pounds of Tritonal explosive and 8.75 million pounds of steel have been recovered from 24,497 bombs. This process has also been adopted by other facilities within the Army commands that perform demilitarization.

References

External links


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