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Mission 31 - Weapons
Osama 2001

 Friendly Forces
The B-52 has provided the lion’s share of long-range bombing missions through all American wars since Vietnam, and provides the Air Force with its only Air Launched Cruise Missile platform - delivering up to 20 ALCM’s to a target if necessary. [show more...]

With eight turbofan engines - each delivering up to 17,000 lbs. of thrust - it was designed for high-altitude bombing runs over the Soviet Union, but then modified for high-speed, low-altitude penetrations through increasingly effective anti-aircraft systems. A total of 744 of these planes were built, with only the H model still active.

Length: 159 ft.
Wingspan: 185 ft.
Weight: 185,000 lbs.
Crew: Five
Altitude: 50,000 ft.
Speed: Mach 0.86 (650 mph)
Range: 8,800 miles, unrefueled
Payload: 70,000 lbs. of mixed-ordnance

F-16 Fighting Falcon
The Fighting Falcon combines high-maneuverability, low cost, a good combat radius, and compact design to make an excellent fighter for a variety of missions.

It can deliver a payload to a target accurately under any weather conditions with little to no visibility, and it uses its superior range to outfly defending enemy aircraft. A construction agreement between the US, Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands makes the F-16 a good candidate for wide use among NATO nations, improving parts supply and combat readiness.[show more...]

Factoid: Along with the F-15 Eagle, the F-16 was the world's first aircraft able to withstand higher G forces than its pilots.

Length: 49 ft.
Wingspan: 33 ft.
Altitude: Above 50,000 feet
Speed: Mach 2
Range: 2,425 miles
Armament: One 20mm multibarrel cannon, up to six air-to-air missiles, and electronic countermeasure pods

C-130 Cargo Plane
The prime transportation for dropping troops and equipment into hostile areas, C-130s operate throughout the US Air Force, National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command. First produced forty years ago, the C-130 Hercules is characterized by its capability to land on and operate from uneven dirt runways. [show more...]

Basic and specialized versions of the C-130 fulfill a wide range of operational missions in peacetime and in war. The bulky C-130 is chosen to transport the 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter bomb, releasing the massive missiles from the rear of the plane. The C-130 can house other types of oversized cargo, including utility helicopters and Stryker armored vehicles.

In battle, the C-130s may conduct airlift support, medical transport, or aerial spray missions. One plane can hold 92 combat troops or 64 paratroopers. The mighty Hercules is regularly called to action fighting fires for the US Forest Service and providing relief support after natural disasters.

Factoid: The powerfully agile C-130 has been called in for specialized missions, such as mid-air space capsule recovery.

Speed:366 mph at 20,000 feet
Length:97 feet, 9 inches
Height:38 feet, 10 inches
Wingspan:132 feet, 7 inches
Maximum Takeoff Weight:155,000 pounds

BLU-82B Daisy Cutter Bomb
Originally designed to clear the jungles of Vietnam and provide a safe landing area for American helicopters, the BLU-82B was then dubbed “Commando Vault.” Renamed for the unique daisy-shaped scar it leaves on the land, it is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the world, capable of releasing a ground-level inferno that decimates life within 300-900 feet of its target.

About the size of a small car, the Daisy Cutter falls to the earth, stabilized by a parachute. It detonates approximately 30 seconds after release, where the Daisy Cutter’s warhead containing 12,600 pounds of GSX slurry—a lethal mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum—generates a massive overpressure of 1000 pounds per square inch. [show more...]

The overwhelming power is well-known and feared in the Middle East where Daisy Cutters were used in 1991 to clear minefields in the first Iraqi war. After detonation, the highly intense shock-waves can be felt for miles, which is why the pilots of the C-130 cargo planes that drop the bombs fly at an altitude of at least 6,000 feet.

Factoid: The Daisy Cutter is the largest conventional bomb in existence but is merely one-thousandth the power of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb.

Guidance: Ballistic
Weight: 15,000 pounds
Length: 11 feet, 5 inches
Diameter: 4.5 feet
Warhead: 15,000 pounds
Explosive: Aluminum Powder (12,600 pounds)

GBU-28 Bunker Buster Bomb
As its name implies, the Bunker Buster excels at destroying underground targets. With laser-guided control, the GBU-28 demolishes its target via a guidance system that tracks a laser signal. The Bunker Buster’s target can be isolated by troops both on the ground and in the air.

Bunker Busters make it possible to penetrate locations otherwise unreachable by ground troops or warplanes. The bombs can travel through 100 feet of earth and twenty feet of concrete to the very heart of an underground complex. Bunker Busters unleash a concentrated, all-encompassing fragmentation blast, an explosion so effective munitions handlers call the bomb "the crowd-pleaser." [show more...]

Factoid: When commanders recognized the necessity to destroy underground Iraqi command centers at the start of Operation Desert Storm, the Bunker Buster was conceived, developed, and delivered to troops in just 26 days.

Guidance method: Laser
Weight: 4,414 pounds
Length: 19 feet, 2 inches
Diameter: 14.5 inches
Warhead: 4,400 pounds
Explosive: Tritonal (647 pounds)

AK-47 Kalashnikov rifle

Durable and widely available, the AK-47 is a Russian 7.62mm assault rifle. The AK fires 100 rounds per minute even through extreme conditions such as low temperatures, from moving vehicles, and after being dunked in water, mud, or sand.

One drawback is low muzzle velocity, which makes the relatively heavy round arc at long ranges. Other drawbacks are the jams, dents, and overheated barrels that can make the weapon tough to handle. But the downsides pale in comparison to what the AK-47 offers a fighter: an easy-to-maintain gun that can deliver a high volume of fire. This is why the AK-47 has been one of the most used assault rifles in the world since the early 1950s. [show more...]

Factoid: The AK-47’s inventor never earned a single ruble for the 100 million AKs in the world today. He didn’t patent it.

Primary function: 7.62-mm assault rifle
Weight: 9.4 pounds (4.3 kilograms) with 30-round curved box magazine
Rate of fire: 100 rounds per minute/cyclic 600 rounds per minute
Effective range: 990 feet (300 meters)

RPG-7 Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher
A shoulder-fired, muzzle-loaded, grenade launcher, the RPG-7 fires a variety of grenades from a 40-mm launch tube. It's light enough to be fired by one person, but an assistant usually stands to the left of the gunner for protection.

The launcher first ejects the grenade out 10 meters, and then the grenade's internal motor ignites and speeds it toward the target with fins that cause it to rotate slowly. Crosswinds can cut accuracy down by 50% for the gunner's first shot, but the shaped charge in the grenade can punch through all known armored vehicles. [show more...]

Factoid: In the Mogadishu ambush, it was an RPG the Somalis used to down the Blackhawk.

Primary function: Shoulder fired anti-tank weapon
Weight: 15.2 pounds (6.9 kilograms)
Effective range: 1,640 feet (500 meters)
Rate of fire: Four to six rounds per minute
Ammunition: 85 mm grenade
Other features: Can penetrate 260 mm armor