Israeli chem weapons?

It’s Still Not Chemical Warfare – Israeli Edition

Jason Sigger posting on Defense Tech about the Carpet minefield breaching system:

Not much imagination as to the name and its function: the armored vehicle that is the weapon platform can fire up to 20 rockets in a rapid sequence for minefield breaching. The force of the FAE blast clears nearly all mines, regardless of terrain, foliage or man-made obstacles.

Some are calling this a “chemical weapon”. I do not think that word means what they think it means…


  1. MO, What difference does it make what words actually mean? We live in the era of sensitivity. What’s important is not that the thing’s label reflects the thing’s capability. What’s important is how it makes you feel. See also, ‘terrorist’, ‘assault weapon’, ‘weapon of mass destruction’, et al.

  2. It’s a stupid interpretation. The propellant of in rifle bullet is a chemical, so is the fuel and warhead of the rockets being fired at Israel. Also, aren’t land mines supposed to be banned by international agreement? Obviously when people talk about ‘chemical’ weapons they mean poisons not explosives. I believe mine clearing is the only thing the Israelis or we use Fuel Air Explosives for. Israel would be having much greater success in the bombing campaign if the were using FAE bombs against entrenched Hezbollah troops. FAE Aerosol bombs are by far the most effective conventional weapons against dug in troops since they kill through massive overpressure. We got rid of our FAE bombs because they were considered an inhumane way to kill people. (The Russians have no problem using them in Chechnya) The only comparable weapons are the thermobaric type weapons like the MOAB and BLU-82. Maybe we should ship of few to Israel.

  3. Given that Hezbollah is apparently hiding in bunkers, FAE would see, like a perfect weapon to use. Find one tunnel entrence spray in fuel, wait to disperse, throw in (from a distance) the match. Watch the Hezb die of combinations of overpressure and asphyxiation.

  4. Francis, That’s a start in prepping the battlefield but the current units Hezbollah have in the field will not go away until IDF infantrymen kill them. Bram, I read Cobra II not too long ago but don’t recall whether we used FAEs in OIF or against the Taliban. I thought we did in Gulf War I (actually Episode IV), A New Hope.

  5. GeekLethal, The Navy did drop FAE cluster bombs in Gulf I. I did not see any myself but did witness a BLU-82 daisy cutter slurry bomb being dropped on dug-in Iraqis during the air war phase – awesome. It was really used more for psychological warfare – we had a lot of surrenders coming across the border the next day. FAE is so devastating because it is dispersed over a wide area and does not require shrapnel to kill. The sudden spike in air-pressure crushes anyone with the blast radius. Foxholes, bunkers, and vehicles offer no protection unless they are airtight and can withstand the pressure variance. Our Air Officers had seen tapes of FAE drops on farm animals and spoke of the results with awe. During the 90’s we phased out all FAE due to political correctness. I think we used a few BLU-82’s in Afghanistan but no FAE.

  6. Bram – maybe you didn’t read my post on DefenseTech closely, but the story noted that in fact the Israelis ARE using the FAE mine-clearing munitions to clear out Hezbollah tunnels and strongholds. Not that I have anything against using FAEs against combatants, but the chance of collateral damage can be high if used in civilian areas. And re: US use of FAEs, you may recall that the US military still has MK-77 munitions and used them in 2003-2004. While these are not FAEs per say, they do use a modified formula for napalm. Again, not that there’s anything wrong with that, unless you’re hitting too many noncombatants instead.

  7. I believe I qualified my statement to say they are using FAE only for mine-clearing. They are using truck-launched line charges, not air-dropped bombs. I don’t think the Israelis are pulling a truck with line charges up to a minefield, thinking they are going to kill a lot of enemy combatants – or anyone else – with the blast. Maybe they could use it against a bunker; however, it would be quite risky given the unarmored truck carrying flammable materials. Airdropped FAE bombs would probably be far more effective and much cheaper than the guided munitions they have been using agianst entrenched troops.

  8. I’m curious to know what the range of the mine-clearing rockets are. Interesting field adaptation of a weapon for a different mission. I still have trouble believing that they are using ‘Carpet’ during a hot firefight. My guess that this is a ‘make-sure’ measure used when the Israelis think they’ve cleared away Hizbollah and want to make sure. In Kuwait we dealt with deep bunkers even more directly – a 100 gallons of gasoline down the hole followed by a thermite or white prosperous grenade.