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The E61 anthrax bomblet was an American biological sub-munition for the E133 cluster bomb. This anti-personnel weapon was developed in the early 1950s and carried 35 milliliters of anthrax spores or another pathogen.

History[edit | edit source]

Around October 1953 the United States Air Force reoriented its biological warfare program. One result of this, in anti-personnel weaponry, was a move away from weapons such as the M33 cluster bomb to the lethal E61 anthrax bomb.[1] The E61 was first developed in January 1951 as both an anti-personnel and anti-animal weapon capable of being clustered and dropped from a medium height.[2] On March 5, 1954 a directive from the U.S. Department of Defense altered the course of the U.S. biological weapons program.[3] The program shifted focus to developing munitions that were not only improved but those that could be delivered by high speed aircraft and balloon.[3] The weapons referred to included the E61 bomblet.[3]

Specifications[edit | edit source]

The E61 bomblet was a 230 grams (12 lb)[3] anti-personnel bomb designed to be carried in the E133 cluster bomb.[4][5] The cluster bomb was designed to hold about 540 of the E61 anthrax bomblets.[4][5] The E61 held about 35 milliliters of agent[6] and a variety of pathogens could be used,[5] generally anthrax spores.[3][4] The E61 was perceived as superior to its predecessors, the M33 cluster bomb and its payload of M114 bombs.[2][6] In fact, four of the smaller E61 bomblets produced twice the coverage area of the larger M114 bomb.[6] Upon impact the E61 would detonate releasing an aerosol of its anthrax spore laden slurry into the air of its target area.[5]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Whitby, Simon M. Biological Warfare Against Crops, (Google Books), Macmillan, 2002, pp. 114-15, (ISBN 0333920856).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Endicott, Stephen Lyon and Hagerman, Edward. The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, (Google Books), Indiana University Press, 1998, p. 72, (ISBN 0253334721).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, (Google Books), Columbia University Press, 2005, p. 101, (ISBN 0231129424).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cirincione, Joseph. Deadly Arsenals:, (Google Books), APH, New Delhi: 2004, p. 60, (ISBN 8176487325).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Chauhan, Sharad. Biological Weapons, (Google Books), APH, New Dehli: 2004, p. 197, (ISBN 8176487325).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Smart, Jeffery K. Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare: Chapter 2 - History of Chemical and Biological Warfare: An American Perspective, (PDF: p. 51 - p.43 in PDF), Borden Institute, Textbooks of Military Medicine, PDF via Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, accessed December 28, 2008.


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