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CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon is a United States Air Force 1,000-pound (450 kg)-class freefall Cluster Bomb Unit. It was developed and produced by Textron Defense Systems. The CBU-97 used in conjunction with the Wind Corrected Munitions Dispenser guidance tail kit, is converted to a precision-guided weapon and designated CBU-105.[1]


The CBU-97 consists of an SUU-66/B tactical munition dispenser that contains 10 BLU-108 submunitions. Each submunition contains four hockey-puck-shaped sensor-fused projectiles called Skeets. These detect target vehicles, such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, trucks and other support vehicles, and fire an explosively-formed penetrator downwards at them.


The 40 Skeets scan an area of 1,500 by 500 feet (460 m × 150 m) using infrared and laser sensors, seeking targets by pattern-matching. When a Skeet finds a target it fires an explosively-formed penetrator to destroy it. If a Skeet fails to find a target, it self-destructs 50 feet (15 m) above the ground; if this fails, a back-up timer disables the Skeet. These features are intended to avoid later civilian casualties from unexploded munitions, and result in an unexploded-ordnance rate of less than 1%.

As the CBU-97 approaches its designated aim-point, the dispenser skin is severed into three panels by an explosive cutting charge. The slipstream peels away these panels, exposing the 10 BLU-108 submunitions. An airbag ejects the forward five submunitions, then five in the aft bay. Following a preset timeline, the submunitions deploy parachutes so that they are spaced about 100 feet (30 m) apart. Then each submunition releases its chute, fires a rocket motor that stops its descent and spins it on its longitudinal axis, and releases Skeets 90 degrees apart, in pairs. Each spinning Skeet makes a coning motion that allows it to scan a circular area on the ground.

The laser sensor detects changes in apparent terrain height such as the contour of a vehicle. At the same time, infrared sensors detect heat signatures, such as those emitted by the engine of a vehicle. When the combination of height contours and heat signatures indicative of a target are detected, the Skeet detonates, firing an explosively-formed penetrator (EFP), a kinetic energy penetrator, down into the target at high speed, sufficient to penetrate armor plating and destroy what is protected by it. Even well-armored vehicles such as main battle tanks, while having massive armor protection on the front and sides, are only lightly armored above,[2] and relatively easily penetrated. Each bomb can spread penetrators over an area of 15 acres (61,000 square metres) or more. According to an ABC News consultant, an attack by this bomb would basically stop an armored convoy moving down a road. While the bomb was designed during the Cold War for fighter-bombers flying at low altitude below radar cover to attack Soviet tanks, a single B-52 high altitude heavy bomber can destroy an entire armored division with these bombs, where in the past dozens of aircraft would have had to drop hundreds of bombs for the same effect.[3]

The CBU-97, or CBU-105 version, is deployed by tactical aircraft from altitudes of 200 to 20,000 feet (60 to 6,100 m) Above Ground Level (AGL) at speeds of 250 to 650 knots (460 to 1,200 km/h).[4]

The weapon was first deployed, but not used, during Operation Allied Force when NATO entered the Kosovo War. Sensor-fused weapons were first fired in combat during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

In 2010 the US government announced the sale to India of 512 CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapons.[2] The expected platform is the SEPECAT Jaguar.[5]

Saudi Arabia has also requested the CBU-105.[6] In May 2015, Human Rights Watch reported on, and criticized, the Saudi use of the CBU-105 SFW during the Saudi Arabian-led intervention in Yemen.[7][8]


In addition to the United States, the CBU-105 has been ordered by India, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.[9]

General characteristics[4]

  • Type: Freefall bomb
  • Weight: 927 pounds (420 kg)
  • Name: CBU-97 Sensor Fused Weapon (SFW)
  • Length: 92 inches (234 cm)
  • Diameter: 15.6 inches (40 cm)
  • Dispenser: SW-65 tactical dispenser
  • Bomblets: 10 × BLU-108/B
  • Warhead: Armour Piercing
  • Unit Cost: $360,000 - baseline [$ FY90]

See also


  1. ^ "Lockheed Martin WCMD". Archived from the original on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2006-09-12.
  2. ^ a b ABC: United States announced the sale to India-based 521 CBU-105 cluster bombs, 2011-08-30 Archived 2012-07-24 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Targeting Tanks with Smart Cluster Bombs". ABC News. 7 January 2006. Archived from the original on 11 April 2018. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  4. ^ a b Pike, John. "CBU-97 Sensor Fuzed Weapon - Dumb Bombs". Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2006-09-27.
  5. ^ Hoyle, Craig. "AERO INDIA: Textron launches production of CBU-105 sensor fuzed weapon for India." Flight Magazine. February 10, 2011.
  6. ^ Hoyle, Craig. "" Archived 2012-07-29 at the Wayback Machine Flight Magazine. June 15, 2011.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2017-08-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Report: Saudi Arabia used U.S.-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen Archived 2015-06-30 at the Wayback Machine -, 4 May 2015
  9. ^ Hockey Pucks From Hell Archived 2013-09-14 at the Wayback Machine -, 13 September 2013

External links

This page was last edited on 26 April 2020, at 00:03
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