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M143 bomblet

us m143 bomblet, m143 bomblet
The M143 bomblet was a biological cluster bomb sub-munition developed by the United States during the 1960s The spherical bomblet was the biological version of the Sarin-filled M139 chemical bomblet


  • 1 History
  • 2 Specifications
  • 3 Tests involving the M143
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References


The M143 bomblet was produced at the peak of US biological delivery systems development during the 1960s1 Essentially, the biological version of the M139 bomblet, the M143 was smaller than the M1391 The Sergeant missile system utilized the M143 in its M210 warhead, it could hold 720 individual bomblets If that system released the bomblets at an altitude of 50,000 feet 15,000 m, the weapon could attain a coverage area of 60 square miles1


The M143 was a spherical bomblet that had a diameter of 86 centimeters cm2 Designed to carry a liquid biological agent, the M143 carried a 05 gram explosive charge meant to disseminate the agent upon impact2 Eight percent of the liquid released from the M143 was in the form of an inhalable aerosol When filled, the bomblet had a mass of 34 kg and 190 milliliters ml of liquid agent could contain 6 X 1012 anthrax spores2 The M143 demonstrates the lethality of even a small amount of biological agent, the amount of anthrax contained in the bomblet would be the equivalent of 300 million lethal doses2

Tests involving the M143edit

The M143 bomblet was used in multiple biological weapons effectiveness tests by the US Army Two tests, collectively dubbed "Yellow Leaf" sought to test the M143 and biological agents in a jungle environment3 The tests were divided into two Phases, Phase A was at the Panama Canal Zone and utilized tiara as a simulant Tests in Panama could not be completed because of "international considerations", and an alternate test site was found in Hawaii at the Olau Forest, southwest of Hilo3 The goals of the Yellow Leaf tests were to learn the effectiveness of the M143 in a jungle environment, the area of coverage for a US Navy MISTEYE I weapons system Sergeant missile biological warhead over a jungle3 The Panama tests took place in February 1964 and the Hawaii tests, utilizing the simulant Bacillus globigii, took place from April-May 19663

Other tests, known as "Red Cloud", took place from November 1966-February 1967 in the Tanana Valley near Fort Greely, Alaska4 The main goal of Red Cloud was to obtain data on Francisella tularensis and its decay rate as well as its animal infectivity data4 The tests involved M143 bomblets being dropped from a tower-mounted gun into a wintertime spruce forest4 E26 and M32 dissemination devices were also used The tests disseminated the following biological agents or simulants: F tularensis both wet and dry variants, B globigii, Serratia marcescens, and Escherichia coli Both Red Cloud and Yellow Leaf were overseen by the US Army's Deseret Test Center,34 and were part of Project 1125

See alsoedit

  • E120 bomblet
  • M134 bomblet


  1. ^ a b c Smart, Jeffery K Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare: Chapter 2 - History of Chemical and Biological Warfare: An American Perspective, PDF: p 51, Borden Institute, Textbooks of Military Medicine, PDF via Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, accessed November 12, 2008
  2. ^ a b c d Countermeasures, Chapter 6 - An Overview of Emerging Missile State Countermeasures, p 14, accessed November 12, 2008
  3. ^ a b c d e "Fact Sheet - Yellow Leaf", Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs, Deployment Health Support Directorate, accessed November 12, 2008
  4. ^ a b c d "Fact Sheet - Red Cloud", Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Health Affairs, Deployment Health Support Directorate, accessed November 12, 2008
  5. ^ "Project 112/SHAD Fact Sheets Archived 2008-12-20 at the Wayback Machine", Force Health Protection & Readiness Policy & Programs, The Chemical-Biological Warfare Exposures Site, accessed November 13, 2008

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