Saturday, 17 May 2008

News on the sidelines of the Cluster Munitions conference

In news related to the upcoming Cluster Munitions conference in
Dublin, it seems the British Ministry of Defence is trying to retain
the capability to use some cluster munitions.
Defence officials point out that last year Britain discontinued the use of "dumb" cluster munitions which could not be directly targeted and did not self-destruct. They insist the two remaining cluster weapons in the armoury are designed to minimize harm to civilians.

They include the M85, an Israeli-designed artillery weapon with "bomblets" designed to self-destruct, which British troops used in Basra during the invasion of Iraq. According to the MoD, they made a "direct contribution to saving the lives of UK service personnel".

The other is the M73 rocket, which contains nine submunitions, and is fired from pods from Apache helicopters or Harrier jets. Foreign office officials insist the M73 is non-negotiable but suggest the continued use of the M85, which Israel used in southern Lebanon last year, causing heavy civilian casualties, was a matter for negotiation. The MoD would fight hard against giving it up.
opswarfare recently "attended" an online seminar on cluster munitions, organised by Jane's, where both M85 and M73 sub-munitions were mentioned. The M85 is dispensed from MLRS rockets. The M73 is dispensed from 70mm Hydra unguided rockets.

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