Home Contact Us  
   

Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#1032, 12 May 2003
 
Destruction of Weapons of Mass Destruction…
Ajay Lele
Defence Analyst
 

The United States was criticized by many when it invaded Iraq. It needs to be appreciated that the Americans went to war after meticulous military planning. On the military front, their preparation was almost foolproof taking care of probable contingencies. In hindsight it appears that the Americans overestimated the war fighting potential of Iraq. During the entire campaign, Iraq did not display any clear strategy to fight the war. The Iraqi Air Force failed to fly, there were no coordinated ground attacks on the Allied forces by Republican Guards, and the mechanized Army was absent.

Modern day wars normally showcase new weapon systems and in this war it was expected that the Americans might display new technologically superior weapon systems because of their main aim of ensuring minimum collateral damage. A lot was reported in the media about the technologies related to the E-bomb and the biggest conventional bomb called ‘mother of all bombs.’ Surprisingly, ‘Agent Defeat Weapons,’ the unique anti-WMD weapon technology, was the least debated. Destroying Chemical and Biological Weapons without dispersing their deadly contents is a difficult task. Using conventional explosives is not an option – their detonation generates a shockwave of rapidly spreading gases that would disperse the deadly agents far and wide. C4 explosive, for example, creates a velocity of detonation of about 8000 meters per second. The agents released can produce significant collateral causalities and destroy the local environment.

Agent Defeat Weapon or the Agent Defeat Warhead (ADW) is designed to disable a WMD storage or production site. The Agent Defeat Warhead Demonstration (ADWD) programme was initiated in 1999 by the American Air Force research laboratory with the objective to develop and demonstrate a warhead with a payload specifically tailored for use against fixed ground targets associated with the development, production and storage of chemical and biological weapons (CBW). The probable ground targets were considered to be hardened chemical targets, soft chemical targets, hardened biological targets, or soft biological targets. The effectiveness of the ADW was based on the warhead’s ability to simultaneously disrupt the functioning of the target, neutralize the CB material within the target and limit the potential for human casualties resulting from unintended release of CB agents.

Though much of this work is classified, the US would not have gone to war against Iraq without an ADW capability. Development of this capability must have been a very difficult task because there are several complexities attached to chemical/biological agents/weapons, which does not end with the design and manufacturing phase of the weapon. Target selection to deliver the payload is also a difficult and tricky task. Firstly, targeting these stocks is difficult because their manufacture is easily disguised in dual-use facilities such as pharmaceutical plants that are often located in populated areas. If the sites are actual weapon manufacturing sites, they are often buried deep underground and require penetrating warheads to overcome several feet of concrete. The concern about harming bystanders makes soft targets such as CB weapons being transported in tanker trucks difficult to attack. The most difficult targets could be mobile manufacturing units. Another problem in attacking the chemical/biological weapons target area is the often unique design of each facility.

One such ADW was being developed by the US Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head, Maryland, along with Lockheed Martin, the USAF and others. First, it uses existing laser- or satellite-guided bombs such as the BLU-116 or BLU-109 to penetrate an underground bunker. It then adopts a slash-and-burn approach, firing out copper plates at high velocity to puncture the chemical and biological tanks and, finally, igniting a specially developed incendiary fill. This produces extreme temperatures and disinfecting chlorine gas. Another ADW is the HTI-J-1000, which burns titanium boron lithium perchlorate, producing both chlorine and fluorine. Some designs use incendiary chemical 'fills' that produce intense and long-lasting fires instead of exploding. Some designs also belch out a cocktail of bleaching chemicals to further reduce the threat of dispersal.

It is expected that some of the ADW research may be related to man-deployable rather than airdropped weapons. Special Forces soldiers on the ground could use such weapons.

From the American point of view all these preparations must have been wasted because they had neither intelligence inputs regarding the CB weapon sites during the war nor have they found any sites after the war. But they are probably still hopeful that they may need the ADW for Syria.

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary
D Suba Chandran
Resetting Kabul-Islamabad Relations: Three Key Issues
Can Pakistan Reset its Relations with Afghanistan?
The New Afghanistan: Four Major Challenges for President Ghani
Big Picture
Prof Varun Sahni
Understanding Democracy and Diversity in J&K
When Xi Met Modi: Juxtaposing China and India
Pakistan?s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: The Inevitability of Instability

Dateline Colombo

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera.
Sri Lanka: Moving Towards a Higher Collective Outcome
The Importance of Electing the Best to our Nation's Parliament
Sri Lanka: Toward a Diaspora Re-Engagement Plan
Dateline Islamabad
Salma Malik
Pakistan's Hurt Locker: What Next?
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
India-Pakistan Relations in 2015: Through a Looking Glass
 
Dhaka Discourse
Prof Delwar Hossain
IPCS Forecast: Bangladesh in 2015
18th SAARC Summit: A Perspective from Bangladesh
Bangladesh in Global Forums: Diplomacy vs. Domestic Politics
Eagle Eye
Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
India-US: Significance of the Second Modi-Obama Meet
Has President Obama Turned Lame Duck?
Modi-Obama Summit: Criticism for Criticism?s Sake?

East Asia Compass
Dr Sandip Mishra
India-Japan-US Trilateral: India?s Policy for the Indo-Pacific
China-South Korea Ties: Implications for the US Pivot to Asia
Many ?Pivots to Asia?: What Does It Mean For Regional Stability?
Himalayan Frontier
Pramod Jaiswal
Nepal?s New Constitution: Instrument towards Peace or Catalyst to Conflict?
IPCS Forecast: Nepal in 2015
Constitution-making: Will Nepal Miss its Second Deadline?

Indo-Pacific
Prof Shankari Sundararaman
IPCS Forecast: Southeast Asia in 2015
Indonesia's Pacific Identity: What Jakarta Must Do in West Papua
Modi in Myanmar: From ?Look East? to ?Act East?
Indus-tan
Sushant Sareen
IPCS Forecast: Pakistan in 2015
Islamic State: Prospects in Pakistan
Pakistan: The Futility of Internationalising Kashmir

Looking East
Wasbir Hussain
Myanmar in New Delhi's Naga Riddle
China: ?Peaceful? Display of Military Might
Naga Peace Accord: Need to Reserve Euphoria
Maritime Matters
Vijay Sakhuja
Indian Ocean: Modi on a Maritime Pilgrimage
Indian Ocean: Exploring Maritime Domain Awareness
IPCS Forecast: The Indian Ocean in 2015

Nuke Street
Amb Sheelkant Sharma
US-Russia and Global Nuclear Security: Under a Frosty Spell?
India's Nuclear Capable Cruise Missile: The Nirbhay Test
India-Australia Nuclear Agreement: Bespeaking of a New Age
Red Affairs
Bibhu Prasad
Countering Left Wing Extremism: Failures within Successes
Return of the Native: CPI-Maoist in Kerala
The Rising Civilian Costs of the State-Vs-Extremists Conflict

Regional Economy
Amita Batra
India and the APEC
IPCS Forecast: South Asian Regional Integration
South Asia: Rupee Regionalisation and Intra-regional Trade Enhancement
South Asian Dialectic
PR Chari
Resuming the Indo-Pak Dialogue: Evolving a New Focus
Defence Management in India: An Agenda for Parrikar
Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan: Implications for Asian Security

Spotlight West Asia
Amb Ranjit Gupta
Prime Minister Modi Finally Begins His Interaction with West Asia*
A Potential Indian Role in West Asia?
US-GCC Summit: More Hype than Substance
Strategic Space
Manpreet Sethi
India-Russia Nuclear Vision Statement: See that it Delivers
Global Nuclear Disarmament: The Humanitarian Consequences Route
Nasr: Dangers of Pakistan's Short Range Ballistic Missile

The Strategist
Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Jihadi Aggression and Nuclear Deterrence
The Blight of Ambiguity
Falun Gong: The Fear Within


OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
Defence Budget 2008: Action Replay

The Meeting of Experts on Biological Weapons

Putin's Flip-Flop on Missile Defence

Responding to Bio-Terrorism: India Devises New Norms

China Successfully Tests Anti-Satellite Weapon

Britain Intends to Work on a New Nuclear Weapon System

Project BioShield: Is the Shield Cracking?

Using

US-Russia Nuclear Deal

North Korea's Efforts To Weaponise Bird Flu

Nuclear Indulgence to India: Will US Congress Relent?

Iran's Nuclear Weapon Ambitions

Pakistan's Quest for Nuclear Power

Sabotaging Nuclear Power Plants

China's Manned Space Mission

Will the US Adopt a Pre-emptive Nuclear Policy?

Sino-Indian Joint Military Callisthenics

Nuclear Bunker-Busters

WHO Clears Smallpox Research

Bolton and the United Nations

Thirty years of BTWC

Kyoto: A First Step towards Environmental Security

Robots Enter Iraq War

Failure of the US anti-missile shield

F-22: The Next Generation Fighter

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2017
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September  October
 2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009
 2008  2007  2006  2005  2004  2003  2002  2001
 2000  1999  1998  1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map
18, Link Road, Jungpura Extension, New Delhi 110014, INDIA.

Tel: 91-11-4100-1902    Email: officemail@ipcs.org

© Copyright 2017, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.