What is a vacuum bomb, how terrible?

Russia's TOS-1 Buratino rocket system, is used to launch thermobaric bombs. Photo: Reuters

News Desk: Russia has been accused of using vacuum or thermobaric bombs in the ongoing war in Ukraine; This deadly bomb is far more destructive than any other ordinary bomb of the same size, which can have a devastating effect on anyone in the area of ​​the explosion.

These bombs absorb oxygen from the surrounding air to create high-temperature explosions. An explosion produces a stronger shockwave than a conventional bomb. And it is so strong that it can evaporate the human body.

But how does this bomb work? What does international law say about the use of vacuum bombs? That bomb was used at all in Ukraine? Where have vacuum bombs been used before? In a report, the BBC has given the answers to these questions.

How do vacuum bombs work?

Vacuum bombs are also called aerosol bombs or fuel-air explosives. These bombs are usually made by placing two types of explosive charges in a fuel container.

The bomb can be fired from a rocket launcher, it can also be dropped from an aircraft. When hit by a target, the first explosive opens the mouth of the charge bomb container and instantly the explosive fuel mixture spreads over a large area like a cloud.

The explosives floating in the air can penetrate any building or defense that is not made airtight.

The second charge then explodes into that mixture. Numerous fireballs are made. The explosion spreads an intense shockwave, absorbing oxygen from the surrounding air, creating a kind of air vacuum at the site of the explosion.

This weapon can destroy powerful buildings, metal tools, can cause casualties.

Vacuum bombs are made in different shapes depending on where and how they will be used. Rockets can also be made for military use, such as grenades or hand-launched launchers.

Large-scale vacuum bombs have also been developed for airborne bombings, which are specifically used to destroy cave and tunnel defenses. These weapons can wreak havoc in confined spaces.

Russia tested its largest thermobaric bomb in 2006, naming it the “Father of All Bombs.”

The so-called ‘Father of All Bombs’ can detonate the equivalent of 44 tons of ordinary bombs. Outside of the atomic bomb, it is the most destructive bomb in the world.

Vacuum bombs have been used mainly in urban environments due to their destructive effects and ease of use against soldiers in buildings and bunkers.

The BBC writes that its use could also be important in the case of the occupation of Ukraine, as Russian troops are still trying to take control of the country’s capital, Kyiv, and other major cities in the east.

Ukraine is using vacuum bombs?

Russia’s ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova told reporters after a meeting with members of the US Congress on Monday that Russia had used thermobaric weapons in her country.

However, no official recognition of this claim has been found. However, the news of the sighting of a thermobaric rocket launcher in Ukraine has reached the international media.

What does international law say?

The use of thermobaric weapons is not directly prohibited under any international law. However, under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1906, it would be considered a war crime if the weapon was used to target civilians in residential areas, schools, or hospitals.

International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan has said they will investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine.

In Afghanistan, the U.S. uses ‘Mother Abal Bombs’. Photo: Reuters

Where have thermobaric bombs been used before?

A history of thermobaric weapons shows that the German military initially used such bombs during World War II. However, it was not until the 1970s that explosives became widespread. The United States then used the bomb in Vietnam.

The United States used the bomb in 2001 to destroy al Qaeda forces hiding in caves in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan. It was called ‘Mother of All Bombs’.

Russia used the bomb in the 1999 war in Chechnya, and Human Rights Watch condemned it.

In Syria’s civil war, Bashar al-Assad’s forces used Russian-made thermobaric weapons.

Russia is accused of using cluster bombs and vacuum bombs in the ongoing war in Ukraine on Monday. International human rights groups have condemned the use of such deadly weapons against civilians.

The use of indiscriminate weapons, such as cluster bombs, is prohibited under international law, Amnesty International has said. Such indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a “war crime.”



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