After the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the Israeli air force turned to the domestic military industry with a request for better, smarter bombs – bombs that would miss fewer enemy targets and hit fewer untargeted civilians.
The engineers at the state-owned IMI (Israel Military Industries) Systems accepted the challenge, and created an answer, reports Globes.
IMI air systems administrative head Ronny Treyfus described what they faced: “The requirements given to us mentioned better penetration capabilities for the bomb; controlled fragmentation, instead of the uncontrolled fragmentation in every direction over a wide radius; a strong fuse with no ‘J effect,’ [sudden veering off course at last moment] and in spite of it all, a bomb that would be substantially cheaper.”
They devised a bomb with a strong penetrator and fuse, but in a different shape than the “ogive” shape of the conventional metal bomb.
“We came out with a straight bomb, so we decided to prepare a ‘costume’ for an ordinary MK-82 bomb: we covered it with an envelope of compound materials that give it the same appearance of the old bomb. We filled the space between the envelope and the bomb itself with controlled shrapnel – 26,000 balls weighing half a gram each. When the bomb explodes, the entire uncontrolled fragmentation is aimed downward. This dramatically reduces what is called ‘collateral damage,’ and focuses the damage on the bomb’s defined target,” Treyfus said.
IMI Systems officials cannot disclose the names of the countries which have already procured their smarter bombs, but the success story has found its market.
“I can only say that the MPR bombs are already on three continents, with more to come,” Treyfus says. “The price of a bomb like this is significantly lower than the price of the same bomb that generates horrifying collateral damage.”