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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
M115 anti-crop bomb, also known as the feather bomb or the E73 bomb, was a U.S. biological [1 ] cluster bomb designed to deliver wheat stem rust.
History [ edit ]
Mass production of the M115 bomb began in 1953.
The weapon was a modified [2 ] M16A1 cluster bomb, which was normally used to distribute airborne leaflet propaganda or fragmentation weapons. The [3 ] U.S. Air Force first pointed out the need for an anti-crop weapon in September 1947. In October 1950 the Air Force began procuring 4,800 M115 bombs. By 1954, with the [1 ] biological agents causing wheat and rye rust standardized in laboratory culture, the U.S. Air Force prepared to transfer the agent to some 4,800 of the M115s. The deployment of the M115 represented the United States' first, though limited, anti-crop [4 ] biological warfare (BW) capability. Though the weapon was tested at [4 ] Fort Detrick, in Frederick, Maryland, it was never used in combat. [5 ]
Specifications [ edit ]
The M115 was a 500-pound (227 kg) bomb that was converted from a leaflet bomb and to be used to deliver wheat stem rust.
[2 ] Wheat stem rust culture consisted of a dry particulate matter which was adhered to a light-weight [6 ] vector, usually feathers. Because of its method of dissemination, the bomb was commonly referred to as the "feather bomb". The feathers would fall over a wide area when released. [2 ] The M115 was shown to establish 100,000 foci of infection over a 50-square-mile (130 km [5 ] 2) area. [4 ]
Tests involving the M115 [ edit ]
According to a 1950 military report the M115 was tested in an area 11 miles (18 km) long and 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide. The area consisted of 7.5 acres (30,000 m
2) plots sown with the Overland variety of oats, susceptible to the test agent, , but not to other strains of Puccinia graminis avenae cereal rust. The test drops of the M115 showed that, from an altitude of 4,000 feet (1,200 m), feathers could be spread over an area of 12 square miles (31 km [3 ] 2). Three M115 feather bombs were dropped 1 mile (1.6 km) upwind from the target area, which was then monitored for any changes. Estimates showed about a 30% reduction in yield from the infected area. [3 ]
See also [ edit ]
References [ edit ]
^ a b Wheelis, Mark, et al. Deadly Cultures: Biological Weapons Since 1945, ( Google Books), Harvard University Press, 2006, pp. 217-18, ( ISBN 0674016998).
^ a b c Smart, Jeffery K. : Chapter 2 - History of Chemical and Biological Warfare: An American Perspective, ( Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare PDF: p. 51), , Textbooks of Military Medicine, PDF via Borden Institute Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, accessed November 16, 2008.
^ a b c Russell, Alan and Vogler, John. The International Politics of Biotechnology: Investigating Global Futures, ( Google Books), Manchester University Press, 2000, pp. 173-74, ( ISBN 0719058686).
^ a b c Whitby, Simon M. Biological Warfare Against Crops, ( Google Books), Macmillan, 2002, pp. 156-57, ( ISBN 0333920856).
^ a b Link, Kurt. Understanding New, Resurgent, and Resistant Diseases: How Man and Globalization Create and Spread Illness, ( Google Books), Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, p. 90, ( ISBN 0275991261).
^ Endicott, Stephen and Hagerman, Edward. " United States Biological Warfare during the Korean War: rhetoric and reality" , June 2002, accessed November 16, 2008. York University