2009 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lennysiegel@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 18:54:20 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-military
Treaties Prompt Redesign Of Cluster Bombs

David Hambling
Aviation Week
October 19, 2009

International pressure is driving militaries to adopt alternatives to cluster bombs. The weapons are controversial because they leave unexploded ordnance (UXO) on a battlefield, where it can injure or kill civilians. Treaties may limit their use, and suppliers are looking at ways of adapting weapons to new requirements. These could include a shift toward unitary warheads, enhanced fuzes and fail-safe measures that eliminate UXOs.

The Oslo Treaty, probably the best-known initiative, seeks to prohibit the use and production of cluster bombs. The treaty does not concentrate on UXOs but specifies weight, banning weapons that distribute submunitions of less than 20 kg. (44 lb.). It was adopted by 107 countries in 2008, and will take effect when 30 ratify it. Seventeen have done so. Signatories include France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the U.K., but not the U.S., China or Russia.

The U.S. defense community, though, is anticipating a change in the weapon. A June 2008 memorandum from Defense Secretary Robert Gates affirmed that cluster munitions are "legitimate weapons with clear military utility," but set a target for a dud rate of less than 1%. Until 2018, use of weapons exceeding this rate must be approved by the combatant command. After this date, the dud rate becomes a requirement.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
a project of the Pacific Studies Center
278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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