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Image:MOAB bomb.jpg
The Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, also known as Mother Of All Bombs, produced in the United States.

A bomb is an explosive material that generates and releases its energy very rapidly as an explosion and has a violent, destructive shock wave.

Most bombs do not contain more energy than ordinary fuel, except in the case of a nuclear weapon.

A bomb is usually some kind of container filled with explosive material, designed to cause destruction when set off. The word comes from the Greek word βόμβος (bombos), an onomatopoetic term with approximately the same meaning as "boom" in English.

Bombs have been used for centuries in both conventional and unconventional warfare.


[edit] Terminology

Bombs are first and foremost weapons; the term "bomb" is not usually applied to explosive devices used for civilian purposes, such as construction or mining, although the people using the devices may sometimes refer to them as bombs. Many military explosive devices are not called "bombs". The military mostly calls airdropped, unpowered explosive weapons "bombs," and such bombs are normally used by air forces and naval aviation. Other military explosive devices are called grenades, such as hand grenades, shells, depth charges, warheads when in missiles, or land mines.

Experts commonly distinguish between civilian and military bombs. The latter are almost always mass-produced weapons, developed and constructed to a standard design out of standard components and intended to be deployed in a standard way each time. By contrast, civilian bombs are usually custom-made, developed to any number of designs, use a wide range of explosives of varying levels of power and chemical stability, and are used in many different ways. For this reason, they are generally referred to as improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

[edit] Types

Bombs fall into three distinct categories: conventional if filled with chemical explosives, dispersive if filled with submunitions, chemicals or other disruptive agents which are spread on or shortly before impact, or nuclear if relying on nuclear fission or nuclear fusion for their effect.

Thermobaric weapons are a type of conventional explosive that draws its oxidizer from oxygen in the air, resulting in a more powerful explosion.

Device originally thought to be a pipe bomb, found to be a time bomb. From a United States government publication.

The most powerful kind of bomb in existence is the hydrogen bomb, a nuclear weapon with destructive power measured in megatons of TNT (Mt). The most powerful bombs ever used in combat were the two nuclear fission bombs dropped by the United States to attack Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most powerful non-nuclear bomb is the United States Air Force's MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast).

The most powerful bomb ever was Tsar Bomba: ca. 50 Mt; it had a mass of 27 tons; it was dropped from a bomber for a test, but was for various reasons not very suitable for combat.

The first hydrogen bomb prototype, Ivy Mike (10.4 Mt), was even heavier in mass, 82 tons. It was too heavy to be deliverable by a plane or rocket, and therefore not very suitable for an attack.

Another type of bomb utilizes an electromagnetic pulse. Its primary function is to overload all working electrical equipment in the vicinity. Its destructive potential can range from one machine to an entire state. Most tests with such a bomb are experimental, and has yet to reach a period of development when it will become a usable weapon.

[edit] Delivery

The usual method of delivering military bombs to their target is by bombing, i.e. dropping them from a bomber plane. Modern bombs, precision-guided munitions, may be guided after they leave an aircraft by remote control, by autonomous guidance or (in the case of nuclear weapons) mounted on a guided missile.

Some bombs are equipped with a parachute, such as the World War II "parafrag", which was an 11kg fragmentation bomb, the Vietnam-era daisy cutters, and the bomblets of some modern cluster bombs. Parachutes slow the bomb's descent, giving the dropping aircraft time to get to a safe distance from the explosion. This is especially important with airburst nuclear weapons, and in situations where the aircraft releases a bomb at low altitude. Variations on this are the drag-producing fins of the "Snakeye" version of the Mark 81 bomb and the ballute devices that can be fitted to a variety of air-dropped bombs.

A hand grenade is delivered by being thrown. Grenades can also be projected by other means using a grenade launcher, such as being launched from the muzzle of a rifle using the M203 or the GP-30 or by attaching a rocket to the explosive grenade as in a rocket propelled grenade (RPG).

A bomb may also be positioned in advance and concealed, for example in a garbage container, car or truck as a car bomb, or by the roadside in a roadside bomb, in a building as a booby trap, or in lugguage and in a vehicle.

A bomb destroying a rail track just before a train arrives causes a train to derail. Apart from the damage to vehicles and people, a bomb exploding in a transport network often also damages, and is sometimes mainly intended to damage, that network. This applies for railways, bridges, runways, and ports, and to a lesser extent, depending on circumstances, to roads.

In the case of suicide bombing the bomb is often carried by the attacker on his or her body, or a in a vehicle driven to the target.

One unique method of weapon delivery was used in World War II specifically from the Avro Lancaster bombers. A type of bomb was developed called the "skipper" bomb, which literally bounced over the water before crashing into its target. It was also known as the bouncing bomb. It was used in Operation Chastise to eliminate German dams. The bomb was cylindrical in shape, and was spun by electric motors in the bomb bay of the Lancaster before being released. Obviously, the timing, speed and angle of release were critical. The method of delivery allowed the bombs to be released quite a distance further from the dams than conventional bombs, allowing the bombers to turn away before advancing into enemy flak range.

The Blue Peacock nuclear mines, which were also termed "bombs", were planned to be positioned during wartime and be constructed such that, if they were disturbed, they would explode within ten seconds.

ss The explosion of the bomb has to be triggered by a detonator or a fuse. Detonators are triggered by clocks, remote controls like cell phones or some kind of sensor, such as pressure (altitude), radar, vibration or contact. Detonators vary in ways they work, they can be electrical, fire fuze or blast initiated detonators and others.

[edit] See also

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