cluster munitions


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cluster munitions

or

cluster bombs,

air-dropped or ground-launched weapons that open in mid-air and scatter dozens, hundreds, or thousands of smaller submunitions (or bomblets) over a wide area. Such munitions are effective against targets that do not have fixed locations, such as enemy soldiers or vehicles, and also against precise positions, such as airfields and missile sites. Artillery shells that employ principles similar to cluster munitions have existed for decades.

There are a number of types of submunition-based weapons: antipersonnel, which rely on explosive fragmentation to kill troops and destroy unarmored targets; antitank, which utilize shaped-charge warheads to pierce the armor plate of tanks and armored fighting vehicles; incendiary, which are intended to start fires by employing white phosphorus and napalm bomblets; anti-electrical, which interfere with electric power transmission lines by creating short circuits with carbon fiber or aluminum-coated glass fiber bomblets; mine laying, which like land minesmine,
in warfare, term formerly applied to a system of tunnels dug under an army fortification and ending in a chamber where either explosives were placed to be detonated at a chosen moment or the supports were burned, causing the mine and the wall above it to collapse.
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 do not explode immediately but wait to be triggered by pressure or magnetism; antirunway, which are designed to penetrate concrete before detonating so as to crater and shatter runway surfaces; leaflet dispensing. which drop large quantities of propaganda materials behind enemy lines; and chemical/biological weapons of mass destruction. For humanitarian reasons the last was banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993, and stockpiles amassed by six nations are being destroyed. Antipersonnel mines deployed by mine-laying cluster munitions are banned under the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty (also known as the Ottawa Convention), which prohibits the production, stockpiling, and use of antipersonnel mines.

Because unexploded bomblets scattered by cluster munitions can remain dormant for years after a conflict ends and then be triggered by a noncombatant (often a child), the Cluster Munition Coalition, the International Committee of the Red Cross, United Nations organizations, other organizations, and many nations began negotiations to produce a treaty banning submunition-based weapons in 2007. A treaty outlawing cluster bombs and giving ratifying nations eight years to destroy such weapons, known as the Oslo Convention, was approved by more than 100 nations in May, 2008, and signed in Dec., 2008; the treaty entered into force in Aug., 2010. Among the nations that did not participate in the conference that adopted the draft were the United States, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Syria, and Israel. A proposal, sponsored by the United States and supported by Russia and China, to regulate cluster munitions as part of the UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons was rejected in 2011 by other nations that saw the measure as watering down the Oslo Convention.

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The ICRC warmly welcomes the adoption of this historic agreement prohibiting the use, production, stockpiling and transfer of cluster munitions. The participating States have confirmed that cluster munitions, which have caused so much loss in decades, are not only morally repugnant, but are now considered illegal.
A cluster munition is either an air-dropped or ground-launched explosive weapon that releases smaller submunitions.
" The Pakistan military's media wing pointed out that because of their severe impact on non-combatants, the use of cluster munitions is prohibited under the Convention on Cluster Munitions.
A closer look at the proportion of civilians injured or killed by cluster munitions is chilling.
If cluster munitions, or laser-guided artillery or cruise missiles are required for that outcome, armies will use them.
They advise us that it would stigmatize cluster munitions, which are legitimate weapons with clear military utility."
Since the United States Department of State is one of the ' active participants' to bring Sri Lanka toward a war crimes - genocide probe, it is vital to record here the United States position on the use of cluster munitions. Both the United States and Sri Lanka refused to be signatories to the global cluster munitions treaty when it came up in 2008.
It demanded the international community to clear contaminated areas and countries with influence to urge the Saudi-led coalition to stop using cluster munitions, which are internationally banned and inherently indiscriminate.
"On November 11, LAPFF received a letter from one of the companies engaged, Singapore Technologies Engineering, stating 'ST Engineering is now no longer in the business of designing, producing and selling of antipersonnel mines and cluster munitions or any related key components.' "The letter cited LAPFF's role in engaging with the company as helpful in arriving at this position."
US export policy concerning cluster munitions, known as the Gates policy, allows export of these weapons under certain guidelines.
"Sudan should immediately stop using these horrendous weapons, destroy its stockpiles and respect the prohibition on cluster munitions by joining the convention on cluster munitions," he said.
Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international nongovernmental organization, on Monday published a report saying that Ukrainian government forces used cluster munitions in populated areas in Donetsk city earlier this month.

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