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DATE=10/7/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=CONCRETE BOMB - (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-254774 BYLINE=JIM RANDLE DATELINE=PENTAGON CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Pentagon officials say U-S pilots attacking Iraq have started using a special kind of bomb that is highly accurate - but does not blow up. The weapons are filled with concrete instead of explosive. As V- O-A's Jim Randle reports, the high-tech rock-throwing is intended to wreck Iraqi air defenses without hurting nearby civilians. Text: A Pentagon spokesman says Iraq is putting important military facilities in the middle of civilian areas. The apparent goal is to force U-S and British pilots to either ignore the target, or risk handing Baghdad a propaganda victory by killing civilians. The official says non-exploding weapons reduce the chance that fires or flying debris will hurt Iraqi civilians. Iraqi officials say nearly 200 people have been killed in air strikes this year. U-S officials say the toll is exaggerated, but refuse to offer an assessment of their own. U-S pilots have long used concrete-filled bomb casings for training and practice, but this is the first time that Washington has used what are essentially satellite-guided rocks in combat. The New York Times first reported the unusual tactic, and says the weapons in this case weigh about 900- kilograms. These `rocks' arrive at their target traveling perhaps 800 kilometers per hour, so they can do great damage to whatever they hit. In this 1998 tape supplied by the Pentagon, we can hear U-S pilots using lasers to guide bombs to Iraqi targets. /// Pilots act /// Start coordination for (garble). I've got (see) them in the (sensor) Pod. Highly local guidance -- active. Course one. Tally the second. Splash. Splash. /// end act /// The highly technical language means the pilots pointed laser beams at the target, and the bombs used the reflected laser light as a beacon to find the target. Pilots using inert bombs can use the same laser or satellite guidance systems as regular bombs, and so use similar procedures in the cockpit. The change in tactics follows nine months of frequent conflict between Allied planes patrolling Iraqi skies and Baghdad's air defenses. The U-S and British planes keep Iraqi air and ground forces from attacking Iraqi dissident populations in the far north and south of the country. Western nations imposed the so-called no-fly zones after the Gulf war in 1991. Iraq says the zones are illegal and violate its sovereignty. (Signed) NEB/JR/JP 07-Oct-1999 15:36 PM EDT (07-Oct-1999 1936 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .