News



DATE=2/13/98
TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
NUMBER=5-38965
TITLE=NEW U-S WEAPONS
BYLINE=JIM RANDLE
DATELINE=PENTAGON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO:  WEAPONS EXPERTS AT THE PENTAGON AND ELSEWHERE SAY IF THE 
UNITED STATES LAUNCHES AN ATTACK ON IRAQ, IT WILL BE A NEW KIND 
OF AIR WAR -- ONE THAT USES A NEW-GENERATION OF "SMART" BOMBS AND
MISSILES.  ONE OF THESE WEAPONS IS SO PRECISE IT CAN BE SET TO 
EXPLODE IN A PARTICULAR ROOM OF AN UNDERGROUND BUNKER.  V-O-A'S 
JIM RANDLE REPORTS.

TEXT:  LISTEN CLOSELY, THESE ARE PILOTS AND WEAPONS OFFICERS ON 
AN AIR RAID OVER IRAQ IN 1993.  THEY ARE DROPPING LASER-GUIDED 
BOMBS.  THE LASER IS POINTED AT THE TARGET AND THE BOMB'S 
GUIDANCE SYSTEM FOLLOWS THE REFLECTED ENERGY PRECISELY TO THE 
IMPACT POINT. 

              /// ACT:   COCKPIT CONVERSATIONS ///

         KEEP IT THERE BUDDY; I CAN SEE IT, TOO.  BOOM!  NICE 
         SHOT, LASER SAFE. 

                        /// END ACT /// 

FUZZY GRAY AND WHITE VIDEO PICTURES FROM THE PLANE SHOW A BOMB 
STRIKE AND A LARGE CLOUD OF DUST AND SMOKE. 

BUT IN OTHER CASES, VIDEO PICTURES SHOW DISAPPOINTING RESULTS 
FROM LASER-GUIDED BOMBS. 

                /// ACT COCKPIT CONVERSATION /// 

         ONE LONG, ONE SHORT ... THEY BOTH MISSED. LET'S GET OUT 
         OF HERE! 

                        /// END ACT /// 

A PENTAGON WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT EXPERT SAYS CLOUDS CAN SOMETIMES 
BLOCK THE LASER, OR THE WIND CAN PUSH BOMBS OFF TARGET.  BUT, HE 
SAYS, THESE BOMBS ARE STILL MORE ACCURATE THAN PREVIOUS WEAPONS.

AND MORE ACCURATE BOMBS MEAN FEWER BOMBS AND PLANES ARE NEEDED TO
DESTROY A GIVEN NUMBER OF TARGETS.  WEAPONS EXPERT JOHN PIKE OF 
THE PRIVATE RESEARCH GROUP "THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF 
SCIENTISTS" SAYS THAT MEANS LESS RISK FOR BOTH PILOTS AND 
CIVILIANS ON THE GROUND.

                        /// ACT PIKE ///

         PREVIOUSLY, YOU REQUIRED LOTS OF AIRCRAFT DROPPING LOTS 
         OF BOMBS OVER A LONG PERIOD OF TIME.  AND YOU ALWAYS RAN
         THE RISK OF KILLING LOTS OF INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN THE 
         PROCESS.  TODAY, THESE CAMPAIGNS CAN BE PLANNED WITH 
         FEWER AIRCRAFT, GREATER PRECISION ON TARGET, HIGHER 
         PROBABILITY OF DESTROYING THE INTENDED TARGET AND A 
         REDUCED, THOUGH NOT ELIMINATED, RISK OF CIVILIAN 
         CASUALTIES.

                         /// END ACT ///

MR. PIKE AND WEAPONS EXPERTS AT THE PENTAGON SAY ONLY ABOUT 10 
PERCENT OF THE BOMBS USED IN THE 1991 GULF WAR WERE PRECISION 
GUIDED. THEY SAY THIS TIME, 90 PERCENT OF THE BOMBS AND MISSILES 
WILL BE GUIDED BY LASERS OR OTHER ADVANCED SYSTEMS.

SINCE THE WAR, A NEW, IMPROVED GENERATION OF GUIDED OR "SMART" 
WEAPONS HAS BEEN DEVELOPED.  THESE WEAPONS CAN FLY THROUGH CLOUDS
THAT FRUSTRATE LASER-GUIDED BOMBS; THEY NAVIGATE TO THE TARGET BY
READING SIGNALS FROM ORBITING SATELLITES, CALLED GLOBAL 
POSITIONING SATELLITES, OR G-P-S.  

A SENIOR DEFENSE OFFICIAL SAYS ONLY A RELATIVELY SMALL NUMBER OF 
THESE NEXT-GENERATION SMART BOMBS AND MISSILES ARE AVAILABLE 
TODAY.  BUT, HE SAYS, THEY COULD HAVE A STRONG IMPACT IN ANY 
ATTACK.

IN ADDITION, TOM NOETHEN, A WEAPONS DEVELOPMENT EXPERT AT THE U-S
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LABORATORY AT EGLIN (PRONO: EGG-LIN) AIR FORCE
BASE IN FLORIDA, SAYS SOME OF THE NEWEST BOMBS CAN SENSE "VOIDS" 
OR ROOMS.  HE SAYS THIS MEANS THAT A WARHEAD ON A BOMB CAN BE SET
TO DETONATE IN A PARTICULAR ROOM OF A DEEP UNDERGROUND BUNKER.

CRITICS OF THE PENTAGON SAYS SMART WEAPONS ARE ONLY PART OF THE 
MILITARY EQUATION.  THEY SAY WITHOUT GOOD INFORMATION AND A GOOD 
STRATEGY, PRECISION WEAPONS WON'T ELIMINATE IRAQ'S GERM AND 
CHEMICAL WEAPONS. 

TOP U-S OFFICIALS, INCLUDING PRESIDENT CLINTON'S NATIONAL 
SECURITY ADVISER, SANDY BERGER, ADMIT THE U-S MILITARY CAN'T 
COMPLETELY REMOVE BAGHDAD'S CAPACITY TO THREATEN IT'S NEIGHBORS. 
BUT, HE SAYS, AN ATTACK COULD DESTROY ENOUGH WEAPONS TO HAVE A 
"REAL IMPACT" ON IRAQ. (SIGNED)

NEB/JR/RRM

13-Feb-98 4:31 PM EST (2131 UTC)
NNNN

Source: Voice of America
.