ITWASSOOTED: MK77 750lb Napalm, MK78 500lb Napalm, MK79 1000lb Napalm

Monday, November 07, 2005

MK77 750lb Napalm, MK78 500lb Napalm, MK79 1000lb Napalm

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A fire bomb is a thin skinned container of fuel gel designed for use against dug-in troops, supply installations, wooden structures, and land convoys. The MK 77 500-pound fire bomb is the only fire bomb now in service. Fire bombs rupture on impact and spread burning fuel gel on surrounding objects. MK 13 Mod 0 igniters are used to ignite the fuel gel mixture upon impact.

The MK-77 is a napalm canister munition. The MK77 familiy is an evolution of the incendiary bombs M-47 and M-74, used during the conflict in Korea and the war in Vietnam. Napalm is an incendiary mixture of benzene, gasoline and polystyrene. The Marine Corps dropped all of the approximately 500 MK-77s used in the Gulf War. They were delivered primarily by the AV-8 Harriers from relatively low altitudes. MK-77s were used to ignite the Iraqis oil-filled fire trenches, which were part of barriers constructed in southern Kuwait.

The containers of napalm bomber are very light and fabricated of aluminum, with a capacity for about 75 gallons of combustible gel. They lack stabilizing fins, and consequently acquire a tumbling motion on being dropped that contributes to the scattering of the combustible gel over a wide area.

While the MK-77 is the only incendiary munition currently in active inventory, a variety of other incendiary devices were produced, including the M-47 Napalm bomb, the M-74 incendiary bomb, and white phosphorous and munitions manufacturing. Production of these devices continued during the Korean conflict, though various demilitarization and decontamination programs were initiated in the late 1950s. Munitions destroyed included M-47 Napalm-filled bombs and incendiary cluster bombs.


MK 77 Mod 5

In March 2003 the Pentagon denied a report in The Age that napalm had been used in an attack by US Navy planes on an Iraqi position at Safwan Hill in southern Iraq. A navy official in Washington, Lieutenant-Commander Danny Hernandez, said: "We don't even have that in our arsenal." The report was filed by Age correspondent Lindsay Murdoch, who was attached to units of the First US Marine Division.

The Mk 77 Mod 5 firebombs are incendiary devices with a function indentical to earlier Mk 77 napalm weapons. Instead of the gasoline and benzene fuel, the Mk 77 Mod 5 firebomb uses kerosene-based jet fuel, which has a smaller concentration of benzene. Prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, hundreds of partially loaded Mk77 Mod5 firebombs were stored on pre-positioned ammunition ships overseas. Those ships were unloaded in Kuwait during the weeks preceding the war.

There was a report on Al-Jazeera on December, 14, 2001 that the US was using napalm at Tora Bora in Afghanistan. In response, General Tommy Franks said "We're not using -- we're not using the old napalm in Tora Bora."

The US Department of Defense denied the use of napalm during Operation Iraqi Freedom. A rebuttal letter from the US Depeartment of Defense had been in fact been sent to the Australian Sydney Morning Herald newspaper which had claimed that napalm had been used in Iraq.

An article by the San Diego Union Tribune revealed however, on August 5, 2003, that incendiary weapons were in fact used against Iraqi troops in the course of Operation Iraqi Freedom, as Marines were fighting their way to Baghdad. The denial by the US DOD was issued on the technical basis that the incendiaries used consisted primarily of kerosene-based jet fuel (which has a smaller concentration of benzene), rather than the traditional mixture of gasoline and benzene used for napalm, and that these therefore did not qualify as napalm.
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