A British publication revealed in a report on Wednesday that the UK troops have been using the most-controversial thermobaric weapons or also known as ‘vacuum’ weapons, in its Syrian operations.
The UK defense ministry accidentally revealed the details in a Freedom of Information (FoI) response to Drone Wars detailing the use of Reaper drones over the previous three months.
The report states that “in the response to FoI, the officials give a breakdown of the type of Hellfire missiles fired, stating that 19 AGM-114N4 and 44 AGM-114R2 had been used. The ‘N’ version of the missile uses a Metal Augmented Charge (MAC) warhead that contains a thermobaric explosive fill using aluminium with the explosive mixture. When the warhead detonates, the aluminium mixture is dispersed and rapidly burns. The sustained high-pressure explosion is extremely damaging, creating a powerful shock wave and vacuum. Anyone in the vicinity is likely to die from internal organ damage.”
The thermobaric weapons, which are noted for producing a large long-duration pressure wave, have been condemned by the human rights groups and, as the Times reported in 2008, “the weapons are so controversial that MoD weapons and legal experts spent 18 months debating whether British troops could use them without breaking international law.” The ‘debate’ came to an end when a ‘Yes Minister’ solution was offered – they “redefined” the weapon as an ‘enhanced blast missile’.
In 2010, the British ministry officials specifically refused to answer questions in the House of Commons by then Oxford East MP Andrew Smith on whether British drones were firing the thermobaric version of the Hellfire missile.
The revelation comes alongside news that UK drone strikes have hugely intensified in Syria since January. In the first three months of 2018, UK drones fired as many weapons in Syria (92) as they have over the previous 18 months.
However, thermobaric weapons were used in global war and conflicts earlier by other allies. In 1999, Russia used the tank-like TOS-1 Buratino against the Chechen capital of Grozny, with the Buratino firing rockets with thermobaric payloads at targets in the city. The United States used thermobaric bombs early in the Afghanistan war, intending to kill Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in caves.
Samples taken from a Syrian pharmaceuticals plant and other facilities hit by US and allied airstrikes show no trace of chemical weapons, the Russian Defence Ministry has said. Right after the airstrikes which destroyed buildings and other infrastructure, employees and onlookers flocking to the site suffered no symptoms of chemical weapons poisoning, Ministry spokesperson said
A Syrian cancer medicine research facility in Barzeh was destroyed during the recent US-coalition led air strikes carried out Saturday. “Few of the missiles of the tripartite US-British-French aggression on Syria have hit the scientific research center specialized with cancer medicine in Barzeh, causing extensive damage to the scientific facility,” the
Syrian air defense units have downed 71 out of 103 cruise missiles launched by the US and its allies since early Saturday, Russian and Syrian media reported. Referring to the shooting down of missiles launched during the US-led airstrike, Head of the Russian General Staffs Main Operations Department Colonel-General Sergei Rudskoi said, “this testifies to the high efficiency of the weapon systems operational in Syria and the excellent skills of Syrian servicemen trained by our specialists," Rudskoi said, adding that Russia had fully restored Syrias air defense capabilities over the past eighteen months and continued improving it
Russia has been learning lessons on the development of unmanned systems from its combat operations in Syria, according to a leading security analyst. Samuel Bendett, a researcher specializing in Russian unmanned systems at the Center for Naval Analyses, was quoted as saying by
A top research director at a military agency linked to Syrias chemical weapons program was killed in a bombing that took place over the weekend in Syria, according to Syrian news reports on Sunday. Aziz Azbar, the head of the Syrian Scientific Research and Studies Center in Masyaf, and a leading scientist in the development of medium- and long-range missiles, was killed along with his driver in a bombing on August 4th night, according to reports
The UKs Royal Navy has received the first of a fleet of new Commando Merlin Mk4 helicopters designed for Royal Marine aircraft carrier operations. They have been acquired to replace the veteran Sea Kings
UK's new Sea Ceptor missile system worth £850 million meant to protect Royal Navys new aircraft carriers has entered service. “Sea Ceptor provides a shield against airborne threats, including hostile combat jets, helicopters and other missiles, and has been developed and manufactured through Ministry of Defence contracts worth around £850m,” UK MoD said in a statement Thursday
Britain has unveiled a major defense space strategy where the countrys air force would be responsible for “command and control” of the nations space missions, aiming to safeguard UK operations against “emerging space-based threats”. Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has vowed to bring the number of specialists working in the countrys defense space sector to 600 which is a 20- percent jump from what Britain currently has, the ministry said in a release Monday during first ever UK Defence Space Conference
Israels F-15 fighter jets carried out strikes a Syrian military base near Hama on Sunday destroying a shipment of anti-aircraft missiles stored by Iran in the facility, NBC news reports. Citing unnamed American sources, the report said Iran has delivered weapons to the military base, including surface-to-air missiles, adding that Iran in the past two weeks has increased cargo flights to Syria with weapons shipments, which includes small arms and anti-aircraft missiles
Rostec to offer Modernization of S.Korean Ka-32s at Seoul ADEX 2019
China’s J-20 Fighter May Have Entered Mass Production with Increased Deployment
USAF Approves Sikorsky HH-60W Gunship To Enter Production
Shareholders Approve United Technologies, Raytheon Merger
Russian S-300s, S-400s Fail to Detect Israeli F-35s Flying Over Syria: Reports...
New GJ-11 Stealth Combat Drone with Flying Wing Design takes part in...
China to Deploy Sharp Sword Stealth Drone on Type-001A Carrier by Year-end...
USAF Develops "Thor" Electromagnetic Weapon to Hammer Enemy Drones
Several joint production and direct procurement programs could be halted if the US and Europe carry through with their threat...
Sanctions-hit Iran has found ingenious ways to develop military hardware
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is rapidly permeating the defence industry to aid and improve human decision-making
Upgrade of Russias Sukhoi Su-30SM fighters to equip them with armaments, radar, sensors and engines from the more powerful Su-35...
US companies sanctioned by China for supplying weapons to Taiwan may be denied rare earth elements (REEs), which have critical...
While the US F-35 stealth aircraft has become one the fastest selling fighter jets in the world aircraft market, thanks...