Thermobaric Explosives

  1. Thermobaric explosives (also known as fuel-air explosives) were originally invented by the US military during the Vietnam War. Whereas conventional explosives kill and destroy through direct explosive force and fragmentation, thermobarics also create a large amount of shock wave pressure and heat, and consume all of the oxygen in the area of the explosion. For the US military in Vietnam, as well as the Russian military in Afghanistan and Chechnya, these effects made thermobaric explosives effective for destroying buildings, and for killing people in tunnels and other enclosed spaces. As explained in a report by Human Rights Watch, “FAEs [fuel-air explosives] are more powerful than conventional high-explosive munitions of comparable size, are more likely to kill and injure people in bunkers, shelters, and caves, and kill and injure in a particularly brutal manner over a wide area.

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