Franklin Lamb submitted the following paper on the design and effects of cluster bombs to the Commission on Inquiry on War Crimes by Israel in Lebanon.
CLUSTER BOMBS: HOW THEY WORK
1. The CBU-58
BLU-63/B, BLU63A/B, BLU-86/B, and BLU-86-A/B
The bombs are submunitions dispensed from the 7 foot long SUU-30 series air launched free fall dispenser. Together they are designated by the US Pentagon as the CBU-58/B. The bomb fuses arm by centrifugal force produced by air pressure against the flutes as the bombs fall away from the dispenser. The fuses require approximately 3,000 rpm to arm. The BLU-BLU-63/B (sic) and BLU-86/B detonate upon impact producing high velocity steel fragments. The BLU-86A/B and BLU 63A contain random delay fuses which may detonate from 0 to 30 minutes after impact or 0 to 120 minutes after impact depending upon the fuse used.
These bombs have been in existence for a considerable time, were used in the Vietnam War since the mid-1960’s and are a US Service item. They are always dispensed from some type of dispensing munition. The Pentagon has stated that CBU-58’s are no longer produced.
The CBU-58 systems is designed to carry 650 of the BL U-63 bomb lets or grenades, which are approximately 2.17 inches in diameter. The filled canister weighs 450 Ibs. The area covered by cluster bomb grenades varies depending upon several factors including dispenser load, altitude, wind conditions, etc. The CBU-58 system was designed by the US Pentagon primarily for use against light armoured vehicles, trucks, SAM sites and various types of radar.
2. The MK 20 ‘Rockeye’
MK 118 ANTIVEHICLE/ ANTIPERSONNEL BOMB
The MK 118 is a Cluster Bomb submunition dispensed from the MK 20 ‘Rockeye’ cluster bomb. A MK 7 dispenser contains 247 of the submunitions, which are 8 inch dart type greandes. It weighs approximately 500 Ibs.
The MK 118 bomb fuse arms electrically and mechanically after release from the dispenser by rotation of the rotor blades attached to the base fuse element. The fuse contains a discriminating firing mechanism which functions upon impact with a hard target by the initiation of a small detonator in the nose element stressing a piezoelectric crystal to produce an electric current. The electric current detonates the base fuse element, thus detonating the main explosive charge. Detonation produces a shaped charge jet capable of penetrating 6 inch armour. Fragmentation from the body destroys anyone in the vicinity of the armoured vehicles or explosion.
Each of the 247 submunitions contains 1.1 lbs of high explosive inside a heavy-density casing. The grenade shrapnel explodes at speeds of 4,000 feet per second.
The MK 118 bombs have been in existence for a considerable time, were used widely in the Vietnam War, and are a US service item always used in the MK-20 CBU. The MK 20 has been provided to Israel through the US Foreign Military Sales program.
3. M-42 HIGH EXPLOSIVE DUAL PURPOSE GRENADE
The M-42 Cluster Bomb is commonly referred to among the Lebanese and Palestinian population as the ‘battery’ bomb or ‘lighter’ bomb because of its shape. These M-42 grenades are dispensed from various sizes of projectiles which are initiated by mechanical time fuses above the target area to allow dispersion of grenades.
The M-42, as can be seen from the diagrams, has a white nylon ribbon which when pulled or touched can detonate.
Shortly after ejection from the projectile, artillery shell, or various sizes of container or dispenser, the M-42 grenade arms due to the rotation of the white nylon ribbon. This ribbon also acts as a stabilising tail to orient the cone of the grenade toward the target. Upon impact a charge in the grenade is launched downward to penetrate armour while the metal grenade body bursts into shrapnel-like fragments to wound and kill personnel. A dual effect in which the fragmenting grenade body rips through any humans in the vicinity of the detonation. The Pentagon designed the M-42 both to pierce armour and to destroy troops. The United States has provided large quantities of the M-42 cluster bomb units to Israel as well as other foreign countries through the US Foreign Military Sales Programme.
It was the M-42 CBU type which President Reagan suspended shipment of to Israel on 27 July 1982. In that particular shipment Israel was to receive 4,000 155mm howitzer .artillery shells each filled with 88 M-42 type cluster bombs. It was also the M-42 cluster bomb which killed US Marine Cpl David L. Reagan on 30 September 1982 while he was clearing cluster bombs from around the Beirut Airport.
4. M43El TYPE, HIGH EXPLOSIVE, ANTIPERSONNEL GRENADE
This cluster bomb was known by the Lebanese and Palestinian population of Lebanon as the ‘Butterfly’ bomb.
A quantity of these grenades are dispensed from various sizes of projectiles which are initiated by mechanical time fuses above the target area to allow dispersion of the grenades.
The grenade arms shortly after ejection from the projectile and functions upon impact, causing the body to be ejected from the housing by ~ explosive ejection charge. This ignites a delay detonation to allow the body to travel approximately five feet above the ground before detonation of the main explosive charge.
Detonating of the main charge causes the prescored body to break up into uniform high velocity steel fragments which are extremely lethal.
The grenade is designed to be used against personnel or light material targets and has been in existence since the latter part of the Vietnam War. This type of weapon has been provided to Israel through the US Foreign Military Sales Programme.
5. THE SUU-30 SERIES AIR-LAUNCHED FREE-FALL DISPENSER AND THE MARK 7 MOD 2 AIR-LAUNCHED FREE-FALL DISPENSER.
All four types of cluster bomb grenades use a similar dispenser, either a 155mm howitzer artillery ‘cargo round’, a SUU-30 series air-launched free