World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

M-121 (bomb)

Article Id: WHEBN0001617534
Reproduction Date:

Title: M-121 (bomb)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Cold War aerial bombs of the United States, Tallboy (bomb), Lockheed C-130 Hercules
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

M-121 (bomb)

The M121 bomb was a very large air dropped bomb used by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. Originally developed from the British world war II era Tallboy bomb to be dropped from the Convair B-36 bomber, it weighed 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) and contained an 8,050 lb (3,650 kg) Tritonal warhead. Production of the M121 ceased in 1955, but stockpiles were retained until the Vietnam War.

Vietnam War

In December 1967, the U.S. Air Force began a testing program to use large bombs for explosively clearing jungle areas for landing of helicopters. After tests in the United States, the U.S. Army began dropping the bombs using CH-54 helicopters. Use of the helicopters was expensive, time consuming and inefficient due to the CH-54's limited range. In October 1968, a C-130 crew from the 29th Tactical Airlift Squadron of the 463rd Tactical Airlift Wing flew a series of test drops while under the guidance of MSQ-77 radar controllers; additional test drops were made in December. In March 1969, the 463rd commenced Project Commando Vault and bomb drops became a regular occurrence. Besides clearing the jungle and preventing the ambush of helicopters that were approaching the landing zone (the M121's blast diameter was 60 meters), the explosion also stunned the NVA or Viet Cong personnel within 500 meters and revealed or destroyed booby traps in the landing area.[1]

Use of the M121 to clear a jungle zone was a technical success, but the weapon did not satisfy MACV's command requirement to clear a jungle area for 5 helicopters at the same time.[2] Despite this, the United States continued to use the M121 to clear helicopter landing zones in the jungle until stockpiles were depleted while a more powerful bomb was developed for jungle clearing purposes. The new BLU-82, developed in 1969, entered service later in the Commando Vault program. Unlike the M121, which used TNT, the BLU-82 used a slurry mixture of ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum. It had a slightly bigger blast diameter (80 meters).[1]

Notes

  1. ^ a b Frankum, Roland Bruce. Like rolling thunder: the air war in Vietnam, 1964-1975. Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. ISBN 978-0-7425-4302-7.
  2. ^ Thigpen, Jerry L. The Praetorian STARShip: the untold story of the Combat Talon. DIANE Publishing, 2001. ISBN 978-1-4289-9043-2

References

  • http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=1013
  • http://members.aol.com/samc130/bc130.html
  • Commando Vault report at University of Texas Vietnam War archive
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.