China has developed an airborne munitions dispenser that releases hundreds of submunitions and can paralyse large areas leading to criticism that it is actually a banned cluster bomb.
The hybrid weapon, a cross between an air-to-ground missile and a guided bomb droppable by an aircraft, can reportedly paralyse an entire airfield in one shot, leaving enemy planes destroyed or grounded.
Weighing 500 kilogrammes (1,102 lbs), the modularised weapon has been formally classified as a guided glide dispenser bomb.
The weapon is made by the China Ordnance Industries Group Corporation Limited, officially abbreviated as Norinco, a state-owned defence corporation that manufactures a diverse range of civil and military products.
China Central Television (CCTV) said that its design can also reduce the weapon’s radar cross-section, enhancing its stealth capability.
When dropped, the dispenser can open its wings for a range of over 60 kilometres (37 miles), meaning the aircraft can safely drop it without entering the enemy’s air defence zone.
Each dispenser can carry 240 submunitions of six types which can cover an area of over 6,000 square metres (64,000 square feet), according to CCTV.
However, netizens and some media reports claimed that the new munitions dispenser is a fancy word for a cluster bomb, banned under the international treaty Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Cluster munitions are banned because they release many small bombs over a wide area, posing a risk to civilians both during the attack and afterwards.
They are also said to leave behind large numbers of dangerous unexploded ordnance.
Netizen ‘KittyPooh’ said: “It’s banned as it releases many small bomblets over a wide area, posing risks to civilians both during attacks and afterwards. Cluster munitions are prohibited for those nations that ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions, adopted in Dublin, Ireland in May 2008.”
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