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What is a firebomb?

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2006-09-24 11:59:17

A fire bomb is a thin-skinned container of fuel gel designed for

use against dug-in troops, supply installations, wooden structures,

and land convoys. Fire bombs rupture upon impact and spread burning

fuel gel on surrounding objects. One or more igniters and fuzes are

used to ignite the fuel gel mixture upon impact. Fire bombs are

used primarily for low level attacks. The Mk 77 Mod 4 fire bomb

holds approximately 75 gallons of fuel gel mixture and weighs

approximately 500 pounds when filled. The container is

cigar-shaped, non-stabilized (will tumble end over end when

released from the aircraft), lightweight, and is made of aluminum.

It has a 14-inch suspension between the lugs and provides two

filler holes, which are 31 degrees down from the top of the

container. The filler holes are covered by filler caps, which are

secured by retainer rings. The filler caps prevent foreign objects

from getting inside the container during shipping and storage, and

provides a sealed closure after the container is filled with fuel

gel before fuzing. The filler holes also provide for the

installation of the primary fuses. During fuzing procedures, the

filler caps are removed and replaced by igniters, which seals the

closure. The primary fuzing system consists of the igniter Mk 273

Mod 0 with the M918 fuze or the initiator Mk 13 (igniter Mk 273 Mod

1 with the Mk 343 fuze). The Mk 77 Mod 4 also has provisions in the

nose and tail for an alternate fuzing system using the AN-M173A1

fuze and AN-M23A1 igniter. Functional Description When the fire

bomb is released from the aircraft, the arming wires are pulled

from the fuzes, allowing the fuzes to become armed. When the bomb

impacts the target or the ground, the container will rupture,

disbursing the fuel gel mixture over the area. The fuzes detonate,

rupturing the igniters, which , in turn, ignites the gel mixture.

Fuel Gel Mixture Fire bomb fuel gel mixture, formerly called

napalm, is a mixture of fuel and gelling solution that produces a

thickened mixture. The gel should be stringy and sticky and readily

adhere to most surfaces. The fuel gelling system consists of a fuel

gelling unit, drums of gelling solution, aviation gas, mogas, JP-4,

or JP-5 fuels.


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