Home » Weapons » Ammo and Munitions » France Dropping Concrete Bombs In Libya

France Dropping Concrete Bombs In Libya

by John Reed on April 29, 2011

Forget the United States’ low-collateral damage Small Diameter Bomb, France has begun using concrete filled training bombs to literally crush Gadhafi’s tanks without causing massive explosions that can harm nearby civilians.

Apparently, the 660-pound “training bombs” have not been pressed into combat due to a lack of explosive munitions, as was reported earlier this month.

From AFP:

Military spokesman Thierry Burkhard denied rumors the use of the 300-kilogram (660-pound) training devices was prompted by a shortage of real bombs. He said the first such strike crushed an armored vehicle April 26.

“The aim of this munition … is to use the effect of the impact while limiting the risk of collateral damage,” Burkhard said. “It is a very precise strike. There is no, or very little, shrapnel thrown out.”

Concrete bombs have been around for decades (the ones pictured above are from World War II) and are usually used for training. However, a 600-pound piece of concrete dropped from thousands of feet in the air can be pretty darn effective when it hits a relatively small, soft target.

Keep in mind that the bombs, while concrete, are still guided by modern technology like GPS or lasers onto their targets since a near miss with a concrete bomb won’t get you much.

This wouldn’t be the first time such weapons have been used in modern air warfare. The U.S. used laser-guided concrete bombs against Iraqi targets in the late 1990s for the same reason France says it’s using them.

 

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{ 107 comments… read them below or add one }

Matrix_3692 April 29, 2011 at 10:25 am

pure momentum = raw destructive force
and that's my favorite thing!
(plus it's economical and effective, another two points added)

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pilgrim May 1, 2011 at 4:23 pm

less of a carbon footprint so that's good

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anon April 29, 2011 at 10:42 am

so really this is an operational use of a kinetic energy bomb? seems like an excellent idea

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Bill April 29, 2011 at 10:43 am

Even in the future, rocks will still hurt when they're thrown at you.

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Rock shooter April 29, 2011 at 10:45 am

…and a gun essentially throws very tiny rocks very quickly.

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Val Brooker April 30, 2011 at 12:44 pm

Better than what the USA is using, ie depleted Uranium audinence. That has a half life of 25'000 years. So much for it being about humanitarian issues.

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Joe Schmoe April 30, 2011 at 1:04 pm

You know, if you could spell "ordinance" properly we might take you more seriously.

P.S. – You have no clue what DU rounds are, read up.

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Jimme Blue May 1, 2011 at 12:56 am

Hate to do this, dude, but _you_ screwed up too….

You meant to spell “ordnance”, not “ordinance”.

But you knew this, right?

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2bJ May 1, 2011 at 9:04 am

ha….educational refining

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Matrix_3692 April 29, 2011 at 11:08 am

i suppose that concrete is much more cheaper than solid steel, and remember, those dummy bombs are used in training before being deploy in Libya, and steel bombs for training just isn't going to be cost effective.

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ew-3 April 29, 2011 at 11:10 am

There's something very bizarre about putting a GPS / laser guidance system on what amounts to a big rock.

Sort of 1st century meets 21st century.

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Barry May 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Creationist sort of remark … or just run-of-the-mill moronic.

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nowhereman1 May 29, 2012 at 12:02 am

And who said you couldn't make a smart rock :P

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David April 29, 2011 at 11:40 am

Do you want a penetration effect? Isn't the whole point to get a brute force crushing effect?

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anon April 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm

Thats what she said

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ftjfjjjfdjj April 29, 2011 at 11:57 am

Could just put steel on the tip if you were concerned about cost but wanted some peneration

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James April 29, 2011 at 12:56 pm

thats what she said

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SJE April 29, 2011 at 12:09 pm

Next up: the tank mounted catapult

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viskarenvisla April 29, 2011 at 1:24 pm

lolol for long-range we'll use a trebuchet in the back of a pickup truck.

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Anon April 30, 2011 at 10:50 am

Because, FUCK YOU!

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Eve April 29, 2011 at 12:10 pm

Libyans need to tank for kinetic damage, imo

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Energized Magnetic Membrane II April 29, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Libyan tank = failfit

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rasicloud April 29, 2011 at 2:40 pm

every caldari knows shield tank is best gainst kinetik

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No.Mercy April 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

I did not think that the Caldari were French!

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Iratus April 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Gallente are…

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internet spaceships April 29, 2011 at 3:46 pm

The first rule of internet spaceships is: You do not talk about internet spaceships.

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BitterVet April 29, 2011 at 4:11 pm

NANOFIBERS. SPEEDTANK THAT SHIT.

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ECM April 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Nanofibers come pre-nerfed, thankyouverymuch. And AFAIK, Libyan tanks are like Sleepers: no shield, all armor & structure. Also, Libyan military producers are woefully understocked on both kinetic armor hardeners and local reppers. Seems to me the obvious counter for the Colonel to play would be ECM (jam GPS).

MDD

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stef April 30, 2011 at 1:02 am

If you're happy and you know it pod mumar.

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Hunter April 30, 2011 at 1:10 am

i love how randomly the comment with the most comments is an eve reference <3

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icedrake April 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm

You win the internets. Though your choice of name was going a bit heavy-handed on the joke, IMO.

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lol@DRF September 16, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Tank Harder! Tank Harder. Overheat em!

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Lame April 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm

Obviously they are not worried about penetration, no point for steel when concrete is crushing a tank. Did anyone read that part?

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TLAM Strike April 29, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Force=mass*accelration

Newton FTW

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ew-3 April 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

A more technically accurate expression would be E = (m*v^2)/2

This way you can compare the energy of the impact with the energy of an explosive.

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TLAM Strike April 29, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Nerds of the world unite!

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Gregory Savage May 1, 2011 at 12:37 pm

You said the same thing as him. Force is energy, not such a genius thing to say there.

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Blue1 May 1, 2011 at 10:52 pm

“Genius” is claiming force and energy are the same thing, or is that stupidity? In your case I’m going with the latter. F and E don’t even have the same units

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Keanu Meshach Stryker April 29, 2011 at 7:31 pm

mΔv=FΔt

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%_4 April 29, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest son of a bitch in space.

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TLAM Strike April 29, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Robinson’s First Law of space combat: something hitting at 3 km/sec delivers kinetic energy broadly equal to its mass in TNT.

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Tyler Buehler April 30, 2011 at 9:57 am

AH ha ha I see what you did there. Mass effect 2

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Sarcasmo April 29, 2011 at 1:38 pm

"since well, a near miss with a concrete bomb won’t get you much."

That's some fine righting there, Lou.

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EFG April 29, 2011 at 1:47 pm

That's some fine WRITING there, Lou….

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Anon April 29, 2011 at 1:59 pm

That’s some fine rightin’ there, EFG.

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markusgarvey April 29, 2011 at 4:27 pm

both you guys are all right…

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Wefinish April 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

They need to improve the guidance system to separate just before impact and fly home for reuse.

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hvhuvh April 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Paper beats Rock? I think not.

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Jaf April 29, 2011 at 3:24 pm

@hvhuvh, sorry fake tank will beat rock bomb

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PiRat May 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Fake to beat a fake?

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Josh April 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm

America would never do that we have a defense budget to maintain.

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Capt. Nosebleed April 29, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Lookup Rail Guns. The US has been continually developing non-explosive warheads for decades. There is a new rail gun that can shoot a solid steel projectile through 2 inches of steel and it will continue on it's path for miles after passing through the steel.

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anon April 29, 2011 at 3:41 pm

They'" probably built to be a similar size and shape to the "real" bombs – a slimmer shape wouldn't be as realistic for training.

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TheDude April 29, 2011 at 4:23 pm

The Sovjets used concrete shells in the 152mm guns of their ISU-152 SPH/tank destoyers against german tanks with big success. Blows away a Panther/Tiger turret or dents the hull into *****-status.

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Brian Black April 29, 2011 at 5:01 pm

The RAF began dropping 1000 pounders in Iraq, back in 2003. So ours is bigger than yours, Frenchie.

They were not only used for taking out tanks and guns in sensitive areas, but they were also pretty good at taking out individual houses whilst containing most of the resultant mess and death within that structure.

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froggy April 29, 2011 at 10:25 pm

hey, Tourette syndrom?

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Dominik W May 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

hey,. give France a break. At least this time they were first to fight, and few weeks after, are still not retreating.

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Brian Black April 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm

The RAF began dropping 1000 pounders in Iraq, back in 2003. So ours is bigger than yours, Frenchie.

They were not only used for taking out tanks and guns in sensitive areas, but they were also pretty good at taking out individual houses whilst containing most of the resultant mess and death within that structure.

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emen April 29, 2011 at 7:08 pm

ever heard about "sand blasting " this one is concrete blasting , grind then tanks am loving dat!!!

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Alvaro April 29, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Look up APDS and APFSDS munitions

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jcsr April 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm

They'd better be accurate. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

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TEK_GADG April 30, 2011 at 2:48 am

Amazing. Sometimes low-tech is the best way to go.

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Matt April 30, 2011 at 4:22 am

I dont know if I'd call anything with GPS or laser guidence "low tech," no matter whats actually in the bomn

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Matt April 30, 2011 at 4:22 am

*bomb

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TEK_GADG April 30, 2011 at 4:31 am

You're right. I was thinking more about the contents of the bomb, though.

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JonJon April 30, 2011 at 3:22 am

Is it just me, or is almost hard to believe that a country is actually watching out for civilians when dropping bombs?! Funny stuff… I mean I get it, it's a civil war so they have specific targets to hit, but still, concrete bombs!? I nearly lol'd when I first read the header on reddit and considered the ridiculousness of it being the literal translation, just that… a concrete bomb. Shit blows my mind.

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Aamir Khan April 30, 2011 at 4:16 am

m amazed by concrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeettteeee bomb,

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Vstress April 30, 2011 at 5:40 am

I am a Aeronautical engineer… with a degree in the subject… who does aircraft structures engineering… and it always surprises me how little people understand about this sort of thing.

This is all about energy concentration over a small area. To be honest though, I would like to see the results of this sort of weapon at some point. I can only imagine it would take some perfect strike to take out all the functions of the tank. Without explosives surely this just leaves a big hole… but no explosion unless its a super lucky hit and the ammo storage is struck.

I guess with the old soviet tanks with the ammo in a circular manner about the turret this might work… but I do not know. Pictures would be good if someone had some.

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Blue1 April 30, 2011 at 3:03 pm

ALL turrets are not attached to the hull except through power and control cables/wires. It’s the weight of the turret that keeps it on the hull. Slamming a 600+ lbs object at terminal velocity into the top of a tank will at the very LEAST create problems with turret and fire control system (even soviet style) operating correctly. Remember, the top armor on ALL tanks is the thinnest part, maybe 2 inches at the most.

Also, not to be a ******, but just cause you say you are, doesn’t mean anyone is going to take you as a SME.

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Vstress April 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm

What is a SME?

Pictures would still be good… since this seems to becoming more common it would be interesting to see what happens.

I realise damage will occur, but I'm still interested to what level. Is concrete the best tool for the job?

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Blue1 May 1, 2011 at 1:37 am

Subject Matter Expert

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Nathan April 30, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Hmmm, kinda like a arti strike but from the air… how is anyone too know if they are being shelled or air striked when they are dropping rocks on the enemy. You could blame anyone when you are dropping weapons that everyone has.

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WIlliam C. April 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm

Beware of falling debris.

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Pleuris April 30, 2011 at 3:59 pm

LOL!!!!

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blah April 30, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I believe this is the same thing that modern tanks due any ways with the kinetic sabot rounds they use now it’s a thin metal dart I believe made out of depleted uranium, no explosive besides to launch it out the barrel.

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GrumpyFrench April 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Kineti-Kill, I love you.

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bigbill April 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm

My brother was bombed by Japanese concret bombs in the S. Pacific during WW2. He said when the rock hit the coral rock he was trying to dig into, it shattered into much schrapnal. The small islands he was on were all coral. He never did mention how effective the bombs might have been.

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Stephen Hale April 30, 2011 at 11:31 pm

Using that tank mounted catapult to throw rocks into the air for anti-aircraft purposes might be economical too…just have multiple projectiles much like the effect of a shotgun for ducks or other birds.

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Chris May 1, 2011 at 12:45 am

I'd love to see slow motion action of one of these puppies doing its job against an armoured foe.

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Cheese May 1, 2011 at 9:41 am

"since well, a near miss with a concrete bomb won’t get you much."

if you nearly missed… that means you didn't miss… you hit… so a near miss would be better than a real miss.

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Sigma May 19, 2011 at 11:06 pm

Except that in military parlance a 'near miss' is when you just barely miss the target; with high explosive you get splash effects. An HE near miss in water can also cause damage from hydrostatic shock, because water is incompressible. With a rock, you don't get any effect at all from a near miss. . . except the other guy wiping his forehead and going "phew!"

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Phantom Driver May 1, 2011 at 11:44 am

they only work with a direct hit
and you all have no idea how hard it is to get a DIRECT hit
even with smart munitions

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"gunner" May 1, 2011 at 12:03 pm

cheap and effective, whats not to like?

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Vstress May 1, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Surely… if the most expensive part of the bomb is the guidance unit… the difference in cost is actually minimal… that was the whole idea behind the JDAM.

A JDAM would not be accurate enough to get a direct hit with a concrete number. So the guidance kit will be very expensive.

Therefore I wouldn’t be surprised that this is actually more expensive than just putting a JDAM on the target with a 500lb bomb.

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TinmanAD May 4, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Vstress, you have no clue what you’re talking about. Like most engineers, you’re likely book smart and very intelligent…but completely lacking in common sense.

You’re an aeronautical engineer specializing in aircraft structures. You know nothing about the JDAM. It doesn’t matter if the bomb is steel encased explosives, concrete or petrified dinosaur ****. Weight is weight. The laser tracking device on the nose follows the laser. The fins on the back of the bomb “fly” the bomb to the target. Period.

And for the record, I’m a 24 year Air Force veteran, an aircraft maintainer, specifically an aircraft structural maintenance technician. I’ve had to work on and repair some of the bonehead designs you “smart” engineers designed. You engineers have zero common sense and foresight when it comes to repairing your “brilliant” structural desings.

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Inagodda Da Vida May 1, 2011 at 1:01 pm

The US dropped little steel bomblets over german factories during WW2 and ball bearings over N. Vietnam. Had to stop with the ball bearings it was declared inhumane. I guess there wasn’t enough money to be made on ball bearings.

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Guido Bee May 5, 2011 at 11:02 pm

Got one of those mini bomblets sitting on my bookshelf. My dad had it from WW II. Called it hail. Looked like a 30 cal round with small fins on it. Cheap, hard and from a plane, pretty fast. Dropped them in masses, did not really aim, they'd just tear up runways and vehicles. There's that mass x velocity ^2 thing going for it.

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blight May 9, 2011 at 6:05 pm

One of these? Or something else?
http://history.amedd.army.mil/booksdocs/wwii/woun

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JOnathan May 1, 2011 at 8:12 pm

I think there was a picture of one of these concrete bombs in the ruins of the house that NATO forces hit. It was the one that killed Saif Ghadaffi and Ghadaffi's grandchildren. That might point the blame at France for the nation responsible for the strike. The bomb pictured was very long and looked to be bigger then a 500 pounder, probably a 1000 pound version. Looked to be about 10 feet long and very narrow/aerodynamic. Made like that to penetrate and allow it to be carried under the wing or airframe no doubt. Still could be US or France or even Italy or the UK since the tech could be used by anybody with an airplane and bomb guidance technology. Its ironic that this article was published here days before the strike happened.

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blue1 May 1, 2011 at 11:05 pm

There’s no logical reason a rock should be designed to penetrate. It’s the massive energy dump which destroys targets, in this case a building. Designing the bomb to penetrate the roof with minimal energy transfer means the bomb dumps it’s energy into the floor which is pointless.

A side note my bet is US

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Curt May 2, 2011 at 2:53 am

However, the whole point of a concrete bomb is to have the same size, shape, and flight characteristics as your regular bombs, without the boom, so they offer realistic training.

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fajas colombianas May 2, 2011 at 9:04 am

This would be good for precision targets, if they want to target a small house or something. And the goodpart is that it wil lessen colateral damage.

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N. Glenn May 5, 2011 at 1:07 am

So, now we have Newton (as in Sir Isaac) bombs, vice neutron bombs?

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meticoeus May 6, 2011 at 5:47 pm

Force =mass * acceleration isn't directly relevant here.
momentum = mass * velocity, and 300 kilos of falling concrete at terminal velocity has a lot of it.

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oomoh May 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Its still force. Its the bomb negatively accelerating from 250mph(or whatever speed) to 0. so Fa = 1/2M * a^2: 453.6kg / 2 * 9.80665 m/s2 = 226.8 * 96.04 = 21,781 newtons

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oomoh May 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm
Anthony Geldhof May 9, 2011 at 4:25 pm

"Let he who is without sin throw the first stone." JC

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Lazy Parrot June 24, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Kinetic energy is da bomb

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Arrow September 2, 2011 at 12:41 pm

mmm I liked the BLU-109 better (killed Gaddafi's son)

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whodini October 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm

next they'll be dropping water ballons

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starfish prime July 8, 2012 at 8:35 am

Kitchen sinks tumbling from the sky would demonstrate we're not foolin' around any longer

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Robert Fritts July 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm

I can hear the execs at Raytheon or LockMart coming up with a Multi billiion dollar sales strategey, to sell the molds for these bombs. When 2 cooks, a coms guy and a services kid from the gym, all on 30 days restriction and extra duty are mixing up 20 bombs a night for free.

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ewlkghsedkhfjdgq April 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Steel Rain. Yup.

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ro4ers April 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Yes, the BLU-108 SFW warhead as part of the JSOW weapon system is in active service right now. Wiki – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSOW#AGM-154B_.28ant

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viskarenvisla April 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Indeed. Laser-guidance didn't even start seeing use until the Sassanids of Persia invented the sidewinder arrow. Charlemagne is said to have tried to implement a primitive sort of heat-seeking throwing axe but that idea was shot down. *Ba-dump CH*

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froggy April 29, 2011 at 10:24 pm

tu peux toujours rêver !

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GrumpyFrench April 30, 2011 at 8:47 pm

o/~ Un Typhon-phon-phon les petites marionettes… o/~

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