Matra Durandal

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Matra Durandal
F-111 with Durandal.jpg
An American F-111 carrying BLU-107 Durandals in December 1981.
Type Anti-runway bomb
Place of origin France
Service history
In service 1977–present
Used by United States, France, Israel
Wars Gulf War (1991)
Production history
Manufacturer Matra (now MBDA)
Specifications
Weight 200 kg (440 lb)
Length 2.7 m (8 ft 10 in)
Diameter 22.3 cm (8.8 in)
Warhead weight 100 kg (220 lb) primary charge
15 kg (33 lb) secondary charge

Named for a mythical medieval French sword, the Durandal is a anti-runway penetration bomb developed by the French company Matra (now MBDA), designed to destroy airport and airfield runways and exported to a number of countries worldwide. As a simple crater in a runway could be just filled in, the Durandal deliberately utilizes two explosions in order to displace the concrete slabs of a runway, damage that is far harder to repair.

Overview[edit]

Designed to be dropped from low altitudes, the bomb's fall is slowed by a parachute. The maximum release speed is 550 knots (1,020 km/h; 630 mph) and the minimum release altitude is 200 feet (61 m). When the bomb has reached a 40° angle due to the parachute's drag, it fires a rocket booster that accelerates it into the runway surface. The 100-kilogram (220 lb) primary charge explodes once the weapon has penetrated the concrete and drives the secondary charge even deeper. The 15-kilogram (33 lb) secondary charge then explodes after a one-second delay. Later production weapons have a programmable fuze that can delay the secondary detonation up to several hours.

The weapon can penetrate up to 40 centimetres (16 in) of concrete, and creates a crater 2 metres (6 ft 7 in) deep and approximately 5 metres (16 ft) in diameter. In addition, concrete slabs around the crater are disturbed in an area approximately 15 metres (49 ft) in diameter. The disturbed slabs are displaced up to 50 centimetres (20 in) above the original surface, making repair more difficult than the simple crater from a conventional bomb.[1]

Service history[edit]

There is a persistent story that the first use of the current Matra Durandal was by Israeli Mirages during the Six Day War. This is inaccurate as this war in 1967 took place ten years before the Durandal was first available on the arms market.[2] Rather, according to a history of the weapon by Forecast International, the defense marketing strategy group, the prototype French/Israeli anti-runway weapon program which actually cratered Egyptian runways in 1967 is related but distinct from the Durandal. The Israeli weapon used rocket rather than parachute braking over the target. The Matra development branch which was in development from 1971 on and would form the basis for the Durandal as we currently know it uses parachute braking.[3][4]

The Durandal was adopted by the US in a slightly modified form (with a steeper impact angle and a higher 630 knot deployment speed) as the BLU-107/B in the 1980s, and carried by F-111 and F-15E strike aircraft.[5]

In addition, the Durandal is in service with Argentina, Turkey, and at least 14 other un-identified nations. There is conflicting information as to whether the Durandal is or ever has been in service with the French Armée de l'Air.[6][7]

It was used by the USAF in Desert Storm, delivered by F-111E's of the 20th Fighter Wing operating out of Turkey. 20th Wing flight commander Captain George Kelman said "there is nothing better at destroying a runway than a Durandal."[8]

Its been reported that China has developed its own anti-runway bombs, the Type 200A, using Durandals as models. In the 1980s, China purchased a number of Durandals from France.[9]

Users[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ordnance & Munitions Forecast". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Jane's Air Launched Weapons". Jane's Information group. 12. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  3. ^ http://www.docstoc.com/docs/80290053/Durandal-BLU-Archived
  4. ^ "Dassault Mirage: The Combat Log", Salvador Mafe Huertas, page-41, ISBN 978-0764301681
  5. ^ "Ordnance & Munitions Forecast". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Ordnance & Munitions Forecast". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  7. ^ "MBDA (Matra) BLU-107/B Durandal". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  8. ^ "BLU-107 Durandal - Dumb Bombs". Retrieved 23 July 2011. 
  9. ^ "U.S. out of anger: After Chinese copy of Russian weapons and turned to France". 
  10. ^ "Weapon - Matra Durandal". 

External links[edit]