The BLU-82 is a 15,000 pound general purpose bomb used by the U.S. military. It is delivered to the target by a C-130 cargo plane at high altitude, or at a minimum of 6,000 feet above ground level due to the bomb's high power. 12,600 pounds of GSX slurry are contained in the warhead, creating an overpressure in excess 1,000 pounds per square inch upon detonation. The BLU-82, because it is so large, has about the same explosive power as a small nuclear device.

The BLU-82 was originally used in Vietnam during the Vietnam War to clear helicopter landing zones in the thick forests and jungles. During the Gulf War, eleven were dropped.


Mission : Called the "daisy cutter," the BLU-82 high-blast bomb is used to create corridors through minefields and is deployed against ground forces. It was originally designed to clear helicopter landing zones in Vietnam.
Weight : 15,000 pounds
Length : 11 feet, 10 inches
Diameter : 4 feet, 6 inches
Explosive : 12,600 pounds of aluminum powder
How it's deployed : Pushed out the rear cargo door of MC-130H Combat Talon aircraft
Minimum height for release : 6,000 ft above ground level
First used : 1970 to clear jungle landing zones in Vietnam
Unit Cost : $27,318 (2001)
Source : Federation of American Scientists

The BLU-82 Commando Vault, commonly referred to as the daisy cutter, is the largest conventional bomb in the USAF's arsenal. Originally developed for clearing jungle landing zones during the Vietnam Conflict, able to clear a 260 foot radius area. The LZ creation mission was discontinued in 1975 when some Marines took issue with a 15,000 lb. bomb (approximately six times the size of the truck bomb used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing) being set off in their vicinity.

The bomb was put back into action 1991, when 11 were used in the opening phases of the Desert Storm ground war, and more recently in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Not only used for its massive destructive power against lightly fortified positions but also its ability to clear minefields and the tremendous pyschological impact of the massive explosion and accompanying mushroom cloud.

Along with its size, the method of deployment sets the BLU-82 apart from most other conventional bombs. It is loaded onto a pallet and dropped from a MC-130E, which is a modified version of the C-130 Hercules cargo plane, its descent slowed by a parachute attached to the end of the bomb.

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