Talk:Thermobaric weapon

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"The resultant sustained high pressure is extremely effective again."[edit]

I assume this line is supposed to say 'against' something? (talk) 16:53, 12 December 2015 (UTC)

Quicker than sound?[edit]

The last sentence of the section "Mechanism" seems dubious, or imprecise: "Outside the cloud the blast wave travels at over 2 miles per second (3.2 km/s) - 7200 mph." I assume that "the cloud" refer to the fuel- air mixture, then outside the cloud, no pressure wave can travel faster than sound (or about 300m/s). Now radiation heating from within the fireball might compress the surrounding air, but it's just an hypothesis and I'm not an expert. -- (talk) 20:31, 25 May 2012 (UTC)

Mario Zippermayer — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:16, 27 October 2012 (UTC)

You make a very plausable point. Furthermore does the article confuse the term "blast" and "shock" wave?

Also the article compares these weapons with about black powder which is a mixture which undergoes ignition. Most modern military explosives are essentially compounds which undergo high order detonation rather than deflagration. Is the comparison ::with black powder helpful when it could be better compared against TNT? (talk) 10:45, 27 May 2013 (UTC) (talk) 10:41, 27 May 2013 (UTC)

Some things should not be shared[edit]

As unclean as it makes me feel to suggest suppression of information, but I think the section about "CALCULATIONS" is taking it a bit to far.

You can write about a weapon without telling everybody how build it.

I know this personal opinion, so I leave to the writer to delete that section if he changes his/her mind. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Xigan (talkcontribs) 23:42, 6 October 2008 (UTC)


Rather than going to the considerable effort of splitting the article into separate articles on thermobaric vs fuel-air weapons, which seem often to be lumped together in nontechnical discourse, I have emphasized their common feature: the dispersal of a reactive material over a relatively large volume by an initial small explosion, followed by a heat-producing reaction of that material, which generates most of the destructive effect. I have removed the questionable idea of hydrogen as an oxidizer (see note below), though some metallic powders can react indeed exothermically with H2O and CO2 in the gaseous products of the initial explosion. I think it is sufficient in the introduction just to say that the dispersed material reacts exothermically, leaving the details to later. Similarly I deferred explaining the term 'vacuum bomb' to the mechanism section, where it is explained how a partial vacuum is produced.CharlesHBennett (talk) 21:49, 28 October 2009 (UTC)

This is absolutely wrong. A fuel air explosive works by dispersing the fuel, but thermobaric weapons do NOT. Thermobaric weapons carry their own oxidiser, but may have excess fuel to prolong the duration of the explosion and/or increase the power/heat by using atmospheric oxygen to some degree. FAE's on the other hand, do not carry their own oxidiser, except for the bursting charge. That is the whole idea behind the fuel - AIR concept. Therefore, fuel air explosives are not thermobaric explosives and thermobaric explosives are not fuel air explosives. They are two different kinds of technologies and concepts altogether. (talk) 13:05, 15 December 2019 (UTC)


I'm unhappy with phrases like "the most recent" as they are likely to become superseded by subsequent events without the article being updated. I would prefer to see a simple date, then the reader can easily judge whether it qualifies as 'recent' or not, and it doesn't need any correction. Just a personal opinion not shared by many Wikipedia writers. Dawright12 (talk) 14:35, 4 June 2011 (UTC)

The current Aussie bushfires bring to mind the fact that eucalyptus trees (having released their volatile oil) can behave in a similar fashion, especially when "crowning", (racing thru the treetops) and being almost impossible to extinguish, even with air drops. Perhaps someone might want to make a note of that and insert it at their convenience. With currently over a million acres burnt, it is "notable" :-) (talk) 03:50, 10 December 2019 (UTC)

Error over oxidisers[edit]

The article states:

"The weapon is initiated upon dropping or firing, and the explosive charge (or some other dispersal mechanism) bursts open the container and disperses the fuel in a cloud. The fuel undergoes aerobic reactions to mix with the surrounding gaseous oxidizers (H, H2O, CO and CO2), instead of atmospheric oxyge..."

This makes little sense. Hydrogen (H) is not an oxidiser but a reducer. The other compounds would only be considered to be oxidisers under exceptional circumstances if at all. --ManInStone (talk) 12:39, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

A few things to clarify: 1. The military classifies the power of an explosive by referencing against TNT, whereas TNT is considered a 1 on the scale. Explosives having a number higher than 1 are considered more powerful than TNT, those with a lower number, less. RDX has a TNT equivalency of 1.5, making it 1 ½ times more powerful by weight. One of several different tests is used to measure the explosive. Simply using a ratio of yield to weapon weight is not an effective means of measuring an explosive’s power. That being said, I don’t think thermobaric explosives lend themselves well to being measured through TNT equivalency. This is due to the lower, and much longer pressure wave of the explosive. 2. Current thermobarics do not need to rely on the atmosphere for the oxidizer, it is part of the explosive mixture. Older FAE weapons did use the atmosphere, but this caused the weapon fuzing system to be relatively complicated, since the fuel had to be dispersed and allowed to mix with the ambient air before being detonated. 3. Thermobarics are especially effective against closed spaces because the extended positive pressure wave is more pronounced when in a confined area. The pressure causes the alveoli in the lungs or the lungs themselves to collapse. Eardrums will also burst at lower pressures. 4. Thermobarics were definitely used in Vietnam. The CBU(Cluster Bomb Unit)-55 was carried by helicopter and designed to be used as a means to clear an area for an LZ. The CBU-55 was dropped using a parachute to ensure proper orientation. 3 submunitions were contained in the CBU. A probe with a pezio-electric crystal on the tip was extended during free-fall which initiated the firing train when it contacted the ground. First, a burster charge caused the ethylene oxide to “spray” out and mix with the atmosphere. At the same time, 3 detonators were expelled and would detonate after just a few milliseconds, causing a detonation. One test that the Army performed used monkeys strapped to high chairs who were then subjected to the blast. Not a video for the faint of heart. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:27, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I think the above has missed the point of what was said below. The author below is referring to deliverable weapons and not explosives as materials. Also the use of atmospheric oxygen has a vast weight saving and so yield improvement. (talk) 08:38, 17 August 2014


Could I point out that comparing an explosive power with a reference explosive is the same as considering the power to weight ratio? When using a reference explosive of TNT the base wright is the mass of TNT explosive rather than the deliverable weapon, but otherwise the two methods are essentially delivering the same information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:44, 18 August 2010 (UTC)


These weapons are generally described as being very powerful but unfortunately this has not been quantified in this article in any way. The article describes the mechanism and effects but this means very little without details of the yield. This page really needs to be modified to describe the yields of these weapons. Furthermore a description of the yield to weapon weight would be useful for making comparison with other weapon systems. For example the data could be listed in a table to allow comparison as follows (the figures shown below are just approximate and a very wild guess for the Fuel Air Bomb).

Bomb Weapon weight (tons) Yield (tons of TNT) Yield to weight ratio
USA Davy Crockett nuclear bomb 0.023 500 21,739.1
USA Fat man nuclear (Hiroshima) 4.6 21,000 4,565.2
USA Mark 21 Thermo nuclear 21 15,000,000 714,285.7
UK WE 177B Nuclear 0.46 450,000 978,260.9
UK Grand Slam conventional WWII 10 4 0.4
Russian Father of all bombs (FAE) 30 60 2.0

The above (could someone help lay this table out better please? -- Done! Vrmlguy 09:54, 13 September 2007 (UTC)) shows that both the Fuel Air Bomb yield and the ratio is relatively high for a non-nuclear bomb type. But these values are generally very small when compared to nuclear bombs. The media have often described these devices as being as powerful as small nuclear bombs but in actual fact this is not a simple comparison. Such claims are usually just a bit of hype.

Weapon weight is important when assessing the deliverability of the weapon. For example it is possible that only the Russian backfire bomber is large enough to deliver the new Russian Fuel Air Bomb, while the Davy Crockett can be delivered by a recoilless gun operated by a three man team on foot.

Some discussion of the mass saving of the agents of the weapons due to the use of ambient oxygen could be given. I would expect the mass of fuel used in such a weapon to be about half the mass of conventional explosive for an equivalent yield.

Discussion of the effects (such as brisance, blast, etc) need to consider that the size of the explosion which will Influence this as well as the mechanism. For example a large explosion will have a reduced shock to blast ratio compared to a smaller bomb at a distance of comparable blast.

Very large weapons (against non-hardened targets) tend to use proximity fuses to achieve an air burst which will reduce the maximum over pressure at ground zero but will maximise the area of destruction (though reduced overkill). However, I would imagine that all Fuel Air Bombs are air bursts because of the firing mechanism. --ManInStone 14:29, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

I did some calculations based on using Ethylene Oxide as a fuel, which could be added to the CALCULATIONS section. The empirical chemical equation for its complete burn (deflagration) is:

2(C2H4O) + 5(O2) → 4(CO2) + 4(H2O)

where the molecular weight for two molecules of ethylene oxide is 216.104 and the five molecules of oxygen is 160. This means that using ambient oxygen, as the oxidiser will reduce the ingredients of the weapon weight by 43%. In other words this increases the yield by a little over a factor of two! The lightest fuel which could be used would be hydrogen (which may not be a practical fuel) which would give an upper limit on the weight saving of an Fuel Air Bomb of about 80% (or five fold increase in yield). There are a number of assumptions and generalisations involved in the above, but it gives a rough idea of the yield to weight ratio advantage of the fuel air system over a conventional explosive. ManInStone

UH OH. The Daisy Cutter page says it's not thermobaric/fuel-air. Can we get a decent source for the claim that US used fuel-air in the Viet Nam conflict? I'm leaving my edits as they are for now. I know I've got the nuke-vs-fuel-air info straight, I have done my homework on that and can substantiate. I also think I'm on solid ground about the nomenclature note. Sorry/Thanks in Advance.

Is this the sort of thing you are looking for?
Daisy Cutters are totally unrelated bombs that use the same sort of blasting slurry that miners use. Oralloy 17:23, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

I'm not entirely clear on the explosion physics. Can someone verify and explain? As I understand it the process is this: A "small" explosive charge disperses the fuel through a large amount of air. A second explosive charge (different in some way that's not too clear) ignites the fuel-air mixture causing a large explosion. Once outside the initial cloud, this explosion pushes a shockwave of very hot gas away. Damage arises from the heat and overpressure of this shock wave striking objects. This shock wave carries away almost all the gas, even beyond the thermal expansion, so it leaves behind a vacuum which tends to break open sealed containers (that survived the overpressure?). Presumably the heated gas then rises, leading to an inrush of air along the ground, leading to fires. Andrew 04:39, Apr 13, 2004 (UTC)

What you've described is one type of fuel air explosive (though I don't know if the vacuum part is true).
Some other types do not disperse the fuel before igniting it, but just set off an explosion that both ignites and disperses the fuel simultaneously.
Here is an old Air Force article (available through Internet Archive) that mentions these types:
Both links lead to the same story. I have varied effects with them at Internet Archive. Sometimes both links get results; sometimes only one or the other works.
And here is a link (also available through internet archive) to a story about the development of America's "single stage" type thermobaric bombs: Oralloy 17:23, 5 December 2005 (UTC)

Why is a thermobaric explosion more dangerous to people in foxholes or body armour? Enquiring minds want to know.

It's wrong all around![edit]

Thermobaric weapon’s effect is based on the fact that the detonation speed rises dramatically when it passes from solid (TNT) to dispersed (air) explosive material. In thermobaric weapons there actially IS detonation involved.

In fuel-air explosive, on the other hand, there is NO detonation. The fuel cloud just deflagrates, producing high-pressure cloud, that travels at sub-sonic (important!) speeds. Its brisant effect is negligible. It just burns out anything on its way and also kills personnel by leaving sort-of-vacuum behind it: imagine a pipe in which there’s an explosion – the air rushes out, and sort-of-vacuum happens in the middle of it; the same happens with FAE, but in 3D. After the fuel is dispersed, it’s lit from inside either by a second explosion, or it lights up by itself (auto-ignition).

The clear distinction between EBM, Thermobaric and FAE is described here, Annex "C" (PDF, 280KB).

Also - Russian military say, that there’s a well-known Tando-effect, named after a Chechen village of Tando, which was completely burned down by a lone Russian helicopter shooting thermobarric weapons. So now, when a single helicopter appears over a Chechen village it creates panic no less than a squadron of bombers.

Thanks for the update. Hm -- if you have a chance, could you delete the offending sections of the article? Then we can start a new one on fuel-air explosives. jdb ❋ 01:21, 11 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I have added a link with comprehensive explanation of thermobaric weapon effect, and removed nonsense about vacuum.Serg3d 08:25, 14 Sep 2005 (UTC)
This page is completely wrong. There is a huge difference between thermobarics and FAEs. They are not the same and need two different articles. I am neither a chemist or physicist, so I wouldn't feel comfortable rewriting, since this stuff is very technical. But the long and short of it is that thermobarics detonate more slowly but over a longer period of time than conventional explosive compounds. The above explanation of FAEs (deflagration followed by high pressure cloud) is correct. Thermobarics are what they are due to the chemical composition of the explosive compound. FAEs are what they are due to the mechanical process of weapon. For thermobarics, think of a graph with time on the x-axis and overpressure on the y-axis. with a normal explosive compound such as TNT, C-4, RDX, ANFO, there is a very high spike in overpressure that very quickly drops. "thermobaric" weapons have a lower overpressure at the moment of detonation, but the level of overpressure decreases much more slowly than a traditional explosive compound. the shape of a thermobaric explosion on the graph would be a semi-circle rather than a spike. i'm no chemist or explosives expert, but the reason is that coupounds that create a thermobaric effect detonate much more slowly, but for a longer duration. Like FAEs, thermobarics have reduced brissance, but increased overpressure (so they might not knock over your house/bunker if it's made out of reinforced concrete, but they'll turn your internal organs into jelly). The thing about the Russian helo taking out the entire village is likely because they were little houses, poorly constructed, and no more durable than the human body, which is very fragile.
And the so-called "Daisy cutter", the BLU-82, is neither an FAE nor a thermobaric, but a conventional explosive (just a very big one. However, it does have some slightly thermobaric effects. This page needs work by someone who knows the physics and chemistry, or by a real explosives expert. I am not one, but only trained well enough to know to run away as fast as possible. BTW, this thermobarics as "baby nukes" stuff is total nonsense. Nukes, even small ones, are several orders of magnitude more powerful than the largest thermobaric weapons that have ever been built. It's not even close. Binkymagnus 01:50, 2005 Apr 16 (UTC)

I agree - themobaric weapons usually consist of a central HE surrounded by fuel rich HE, so the post initial detonation reaction with atmospheric air may increase blast wave duration. FAE's are the oldest term for Fuel Air Explosives, and should be separate from Thermobaric weapons, as they aren't neccesarily the same, although a FAE may be considered a thermobaric, it doesn't have to be - it doesn't have to have heat as a primary means of destruction. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:39, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I was wondering about this. The Father of all bombs article quotes[1] someone from, saying: "It's not even clear what kind of weapon the Russians tested -- if it was what some experts call a "fuel-air explosive," or if it was a "thermobaric" weapon. Fuel-air and thermobaric bombs differ in usefulness." Yet 'fuel air explosive' is a redirect to the thermobaric weapon article. Time for two separate articles perhaps? -- MiG (talk) 12:14, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

FAE's do detonate, if they work properly. Typical detonation speed in a vapor cloud based on ethylene oxide may be around 1800 m/s or something in that ballpark. A deflagrating FAE is a dud. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:20, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Strange Quote[edit]

It read:

"Blust create negative overpressure, enough to have human bodily lifted and thrown."

This was based on a quote from the linked PDF:

"The negative phase results in a reversed-blast wind and causes human targets to be bodily lifted and thrown."

legality of fuel air explosives[edit]

will a short exploration of the legality vis a vis international humanitarianlaw tomorrow.

The Russian use in urban areas to terrorist Chechnya, violated intl law. The weapon should not be used in civilian areas. thx Opuscalgary 19:42, 15 March 2007 (UTC)

Wrong. (talk) 09:49, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
Russia is a signatory to the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. Article III of that Convention explicitly forbids the use of any incendiary weapon, including both thermobaric and fuel-air weapons, on civilian populations. [2] Therefore, the Russians' use of thermobaric weapons on civilian populations in Chechnya was illegal, per the Convention. ExOttoyuhr (talk) 02:33, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Thermobaric and Fuel-Air Explosive munitions are NOT incendiary weapons, because they don't kill by fire. THEY KILL BY BLAST!
Read the article again victims on the fringes of the explosion are not killed by the blast (they may suffer internal bleeding) but are sometimes killed by inhaling the BURNING fuel, so yes they also kill by fire while not the desired effect it happens. (talk) 06:47, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

It may happen if the weapon doesn't work properly, if a lot of the fuel burn, but a properly working weapon detonates in a very short amount of time, and for the US variation, the whole process takes 0.2 seconds, from initiation of the burster charge to the detonation of the cloud. The detonation happens practically in an instant (1800 metres per second detonation speed, figure it out yourself - the cloud is around thirty feet wide) so there's no way you can inhale the "burning fuel". If you are so close to the explosion that you can actually inhale the residue, then you're obviously already dead by blast, because that would place you within the fireball. Russia used some hybrid weapons, and some of them were incendiary weapons which they put in the same category as their thermobaric weapons. The civillians on the receiving end would have no way to tell which kind of weapon they were exposed to. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:56, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

In Humane[edit]

Somewhere I believe I read that FAE's where going to be constituted as inhumane, could anyone confirm this?

Ever have you seen a "humane" weapon? --jno 11:58, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I mean ya most weapons of mass destruction are ment to do exactly that and the more "In-humane" the effects are, the more pressure is put on the victims' government. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:11, 11 May 2011 (UTC)

it's only a war crime if someone has the strength and will to enforce it and nobody is (I hope) stupid enough to start ww3 for this, just like nobody will arrest Bush/Obama for war crimes (you know the starting wars, funding wars, supporting terrorists, assassinations on foreign soil, ...... you know the things every country would do if it could it's just that right now the USA is in the best position to play empire and whatever country will be next will do the same (some already do in a more limited way but if they could they would do it further from home)) Benzo expert (talk) 15:54, 6 September 2016 (UTC)

Fiction section is wrong[edit]

In C&C Generals the MOAB is dropped from a B-3, not a B-2, which is a new platform which is not widely publicised. Also, the Fuel Air bomb featured is a BLU-82, and as such is dropped from the back of a C-130 Hercules. However, I don't want to change it since there is no wikipedia article on the new B-3. --The1exile 18:43, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

thermo-baric: heat & pressure[edit]

My understanding:

A thermobaric weapon is anything who's main damaging effect is heat and pressure in contrast to mechanical impact/fragmentation.

Instead of optimizing the explosion’s characteristics to throw fragments, which i assume takes a quick sharp pressure pulse, go for lower longer and hotter. spreading out the pressure pulse-> exposing targets to the high pressure for longer -> causing more damage than a sharp pressure spike would have? Same energy, but more momentum transfer-> tossing people around and destroying buildings

(a lot like small arms ammunition, compare a 5.56 rifle round to a desert eagle .50AE, both have about the same energy, but the pistol round has more than twice the momentum.)

The above makes no sense, because the momentum (mass times velocity) is the total energy of the missile.--ManInStone 15:09, 12 September 2007 (UTC)
Not so, momentum is mass times velocity, kinetic energy is one-half the mass times the square of the velocity. See, for example, this page. That said, I think that the bullet has more energy, so the original paragraphs above have the terms reversed. --Vrmlguy 10:10, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

The 'daisy cutter' and 'MOAB' both use explosive slurries, look at the video the fireball is so big people have confused it with a small nuclear weapon, heat and pressure.

Fuel air explosives are also thermobaric weapons.

fuel air animation

In most explosives everything necessary for the reaction is contained inside. In fuel air explosives all you need is fuel, oxidizer is provided by the air, so the same power can be achieved with a smaller package. Fuel air explosives are very sensitive to their dispersion-> weather can play a big factor in the results. Modern thermobaric weapons are moving towards solids instead of liquids and because the technology is improving and we can get those same, powerful blast effects from a single charge... wired describes thermobaric bombs as being "under oxidized". It sounds to me like it's a continuum from un-oxidized to fully-oxidized..

A better description is given here saying "Highly metalized standard high explosives meet the definition of thermobaric composition" "Most thermobaric materials require 3-6 lb of air per lb" It also has some nice graphs comparing pressure and temperature across time for C4 and a thermobaric explosive.

This whole thing about 'vacuum bombs' seems to me to be a lot of hype. Under oxidized -> burns oxygen. Is this enough to really suffocate anyone? The wired article, for example, had a lot of obvious pseudo-science garbage in it...

The other interesting bit is from wave mechanics, the amount of energy reflected or transmitted from a pressure wave hitting a change in materials depends on the difference in density-> air to stone is a really big difference-> most is reflected keeping the energy from the blast inside a cave (forming a mach stem?) instead of transmitting it out into the surrounding rock. If a tunnel turns a fragment will hit the wall and stop, a pressure wave will turn with it, following snaking tunnels and not reducing much in power.

The US has used some thermobaric 40mm grenades "xm1060" in Afghanistan with good reviews. it also plans on using them in the oicw/xm29/xm25 and OCSW 25mm.

They're also making rounds for the smaw SMAW-NE with more good reviews, and pictures of the destructive effects on buildings. they're also considering retrofitting all the obsolete m-72's.

Also hellfire missiles , blu-118

(personal opinion) Human rights violation? It's new and more effective, that tends to make people react. Is it any worse than getting shot? Or blown up with conventional explosives? Do you think a soldier in that situation cares about much more than survival? (/personal opinon)

urban legends[edit]

  1. Soviets have used conventional incendiary weapon against Chineese, which can provide a sort of fuel-air effect when used massively (note on Drezden is ok) --jno 11:50, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
  2. The noted RPO-A is a flame thrower. Just by its name: RPO stand for "Ruchnoy Pekhotny Ognemet" or "handleld infantry flame thrower". Better soviet/russian sample would be, say, TBG-7 grenade for RPG-7 launcher. --jno 12:02, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

The RPO-A is not really a flamethrower. It's a rocket propelled thermobaric grenade[3]Dwane E Anderson (talk) 14:52, 18 March 2008 (UTC)


BTW, I wonder, if there is an english rumor similar to widely published (by press, seriously!) russian joke about "vacuum bomb" filled with "liquid vacuum", which is, being splashed out, decreases the pressure and affects the buildings and personnel? --jno 11:55, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

It not exactly humor, as it bears some truth. That description matches some of the munition that I have seen used in RPG's. While similar to thermobaric rounds, they differ in the fact that they create low pressure conditions. --Turbinator 18:42, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Oh, my God! Liquid vacuum is "some truth"? Is PRG now considered as infosource? How about the course of physics from elementary school? --jno 07:07, 12 January 2007 (UTC)

Fiction section is huge[edit]

Maybe just move it under, say Thermobaric weapon/In Fiction? --jno 11:40, 19 July 2006 (UTC)

================== Sentence deleted ==================[edit]

This sentence has been deleted: "Allegations were made in Lebanese media that Tsahal had used vacuum bombs during the July 2006 bombings of Lebanon" This should be an encyclopedia not an allegation list. Encyclopedic content must be verifiable

the sentence above seems to have been replaced with "Israel also used thermobaric weapons extensively during the Lebanese civil war." citing the source here. After reading the first few paragraphs, it was pretty clear to me that the source was biased (lots of weasel words and an anti-Israeli slant). I'm not saying that the Israelis did not use thermobaric weapons in Lebanon, but perhaps a better source (it would probably be more creditable coming from a source outside the countries involved in the fighting) should be found before the allegation is stated as fact in the article. Mike McGregor (Can) (talk) 16:07, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

Original Research[edit]

  • Can the "Original research" tag be removed now? It's not clear to me what is being referred to as original research or unverified in the tagged section. If the editor who attached the tag could comment that would be great. If I can get a consensus that it is no longer required I will remove it forthwith. User:Jaganath 21:43, 08 August 2006 (UTC)
I see no OR as well. --jno 09:42, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
  • OK, I will provisionally remove the tag and then if anyone can see a section where it is more appropriate it can be re-instated if necessary.--User:Jaganath 18:07, 09 August 2006 (UTC)

Suitable against "soft targets"?[edit]

"...makes fuel-air explosives useful against soft targets such as minefields, armored vehicles, aircraft parked in the open, and bunkers."

That sentence includes pretty much everything but the light infantry. I wouldn't exactly call bunkers "soft targets" myself. Someone please clarify that one. --ZeroOne 14:09, 19 August 2006 (UTC)

It has now been changed to "...makes fuel-air explosives useful against hard targets such as minefields, armored vehicles, aircraft parked in the open, and bunkers."

I'm not sure that aircraft parked in the open are hard targets.

No, they are categorized as "soft". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:18, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Dad of all bombs[edit]

considering that Russia has just demonstrated a very powerful thermobaric bomb, should this article be added to Weapons of Mass Destruction?-- 00:18, 12 September 2007 (UTC)

No, they aren't WMDs and they aren't really even comparable to WMDs. At best they are similar in sheer pressure alone to the tiniest nukes but they can't be scaled up to do anything like "mass destruction" (they can't destroy a city like even a WWII-sized nuke could do). If you added thermobaric bombs you might as well add car bombs to the list of WMDs. (No, I am not proposing that as a reasonable thing to do.) -- (talk) 03:08, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

A WMD is defined as a nuclear, biological or chemical weapon, and the potency of the weapon is irrelevant to its description. Chlorine in your drinking water is a WMD, whereas the guns you own are not. --The Four Deuces (talk) 08:50, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Where did you get that definition from? It doesn't match the Wikipedia page Weapons of mass destruction, which defines it by its potency. (Also, chlorine purifies water; surely it's only a weapon if it is in a high conceentration?!?) LachlanA (talk) 23:10, 13 January 2008 (UTC)

Concerned about an external link[edit]

i think that the external link: "animation" (3rd last) should be removed because it redirects the user to which has a lot of gore and pornographic content, not visible in the animation provided but in text links at the bottom of the page. the animation shows the process of the thermobaric weapon, but there are better animations in the internet.Gcancelado 22:21, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

I agree. Perhaps someone with technical expertise could create a copy or something and upload it directly to Wikipedia. That would be more in keeping with policy anyway, in my opinion. 03:59, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Vapor cloud explosion[edit]

The term "Vapor cloud explosion" redirects to this page. However, VCE's are not restricted to weapons, they are a common hazard in many commercial industries, and are a subject of industrial fire protection engineering. This term should direct to it's own page, Vapor cloud explosion. I'm not sure how to do this. Fireproeng 07:01, 8 November 2007 (UTC)

You are right. I put redirect to Unconfined vapor cloud explosion.DrunkSquirrel (talk) 03:27, 25 November 2011 (UTC)


"...This late time metal combustion process produces a significant pressure rise over a longer time duration (10–50 msec). This is a phase generally referred to as after burning or late-time impulse which can occur outside of where the detonation occurred, resulting in more widespread damage.[2] This is known as an aerobic reaction and draws in all of the unburnt fuel and atmospheric air, and creates a vacuum in the detonation environment."

This is not making much sense to me. You are saying that this 1) pressurized, 2) HOT ball of gas contains metal particles that react with atmospheric O2 (OK so far) but that reaction produces a vacuum? The O2 content of "atmospheric air" is about 20%, so that would be all the vacuum you could get by making a solid product (metal oxide) out of metal and gaseous O2. But dominating all that has to be the fact that the gas is under great pressure to start with because of heat and blast (as the quoted piece itself says clearly). I think you are confusing the asphyxiating effects of removing O2 with the negative pressure effects of removing a component of an atmosphere. In general this article reads like something produced by pre-teenagers with access to Popular Mechanics, not people who know about chemistry of explosions. Citations seem mostly to popular press, I did not find articles that presented a clear technical view of the topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:07, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

1st generation FAEs[edit]

The article as it is to date deals with "newer", "solid" thermobarics. There is barely a mention of (largerly obsolete, but still important, at least historically) first generation fuel-air explosives, consisting of a primary HE burster, container of a volatile fuel and a tertiary initiation HE charge.-- (talk) 03:12, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

Extent of damage claim[edit]

User:Uruk2008 has repeatedly modified the following paragraph in the article to remove the skeptical claim in the last sentence:

In 1944 the Germans decided to proceed with the development of a fuel-air bomb, using 40% liquid oxygen[1] mixed with 60% dry brown coal powder. In a test of an 8 kg charge near Doberitz, trees were completely destroyed within a 600 meter radius, with shock effects being felt as far away as 2 km. This was believed to be the beginning of fuel-air and thermobaric weapon development.[2]The extent of the described destruction radius is not plausible for the stated mass of the charge.[3]

The claimed 8 kg charge would credibly not have more energy than approximately 200 Mj - See Coal#Energy_density - burned or detonated with a stoichiometric proportion of air, it only generates 24 Mj/kg. 200 Mj is equal to roughly the energy in 50 Kg of TNT at 4.2 Mj/kg (see TNT). Destruction of trees across a 600 meter diameter is consistent with several tons to tens of tons of TNT equivalent depending on coupling details - see BLU-82 (100 to 300 meter radius, 5,600 kg of slightly lower energy explosive, roughly equal to 4.5 tons TNT), or the blast effects descriptions in Cooper, Paul W. Explosives Engineering. New York: Wiley-VCH, 1996. ISBN 0-471-18636-8., or even the effects given in the Nuclear Weapons FAQ online ( ). There's a factor of 100 difference in energy available versus claimed effects - this is clearly a plausibility problem, especially given that the website in which the claim is made ( ) is not a published reliable source, it's only a website, without the primary sources listed etc.

This information must be treated skeptically if it's included at all. The factor of 100 energy difference is not minor - it's very serious. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 10:32, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

I'd support removing it. It's sometimes justifiable to cite various websites, but that site hardly looks like a reliable source for a subject that has many books written on it. --Delirium (talk) 11:58, 11 February 2009 (UTC)

-Not to mention that it includes "liquid oxygen" and so doesn't belong here. Probably an urban legend anyway, sounds like nonsense to me. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:25, 2 April 2009 (UTC)


source from army[edit]

see The Threat from Blast Weapons from the Canada Army. I took it out from the article because it was sourcing a sentence that had no relationship to anything on the source. Please someone check it out and re-add somewhere adequate. --Enric Naval (talk) 02:28, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

Times of London[edit]

This Times article states that thermobaric weapons "create a pressure wave which sucks the air out of victims, shreds their internal organs and crushes their bodies" and that they have been "condemned by human rights groups as 'brutal'". This info should be in the article. Mike R (talk) 14:58, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

I wonder where the "author" of this page cribbed it from. This is such bad writing, yet looks like it came from good technical writing, that the only conclusion possible is that it is a cut-and-paste job from a good technical article, done by someone who didn't understand the article he was cribbing from. I kept going "What???" because I was constantly running into things that would only be understandable if one was already knowledgeable in the subject. They should have either been deleted by the cribber, or explained. Of course, the cribber couldn't explain them because he didn't understand them himself. This is a piss-poor article that should be rewritten by someone who actually knows something about the subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:56, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

This is not true, and should not be in the article[edit]

German developments In 1944, Germany experimented with the development of a fuel-air bomb, using 40% liquid oxygen[27] mixed with 60% dry brown coal powder. In a test of an 8-kilogram (18 lb) charge near Doberitz, trees were reportedly destroyed within a 600-metre (2,000 ft) radius, with shock effects being felt as far away as 2 kilometres (1.2 mi).[28] The extent of the described destruction radius is not considered plausible for the stated mass of the charge.[29][30]

If the bomb had liquid oxygen as part of the design, then it's NOT A FAE. It may be a Thermobaric bomb, since that just means that it has pressure and heat as the main function. Since part of that report, which is widely reported on "the net", including the dubious "sources" [27] and [28] referred to here, is obviously complete nonsense, the entry should be removed. The kind of device described, based on liquid oxygen was not something the Germans invented, it was a relatively common explosive for civilian use, and it even has a Wiki entry: Oxyliquit There's no doubt that this entry about "German developments" is pure fantasy (And really idiotic to boot). —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:34, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

Sorry, I didn't notice that someone already had noticed this! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:37, 8 April 2011 (UTC)


... or something like this - I am no english native speaker

I regard at least the big ones as important or if there is a massive use of smaller ones that desturct ares of about a square kilo metre.

One case. by chance I have found here source:

some more details about the incident can be found in an German article: Edgar8 (talk) 10:47, 21 October 2011 (UTC)

I guess KNOWN APPLICATIONS OF THERMOBARIC WEAPONS (or bombs?) would be better?! Is it? - I am no english native speaker. Edgar8 (talk) 10:55, 21 October 2011 (UTC)
massive use of bombs and/or big chemical weapons on Tuesday 18th of Oct.2011 in Sirte, Libya, killed about 20,000 civilians according to a German Website: (talk) 20:20, 24 October 2011 (UTC)
That is not a reliable source. Not even vaguely. Georgewilliamherbert (talk) 02:07, 25 October 2011 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to merge Fuel-air explosive into Thermobaric weapon. --Limulus (talk) 01:20, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Boilerplate (text) via Wikipedia:Merging#Proposing_a_merger: I propose that Fuel-air explosive be merged into Thermobaric weapon. I think that the content in the Fuel-air explosive article can easily be explained in the context of Thermobaric weapon, and the Thermobaric weapon article is of a reasonable size in which the merging of Fuel-air explosive will not cause any problems as far as article size or undue weight is concerned. -- Limulus (talk) 01:06, 15 February 2012 (UTC)

I agree with Limulus. They are basically talking about the same thing. Agent 78787 talk contribs 01:08, 20 February 2012 (UTC)

I tentatively agree, but urge caution in implementing the merge. While FAE and thermobaric munitions have a lot in common, they also have enough differences to be considered different classes of munitions. I see the two conflated often on other sites, and would not like to see their distinction muddled further. At the very least, the merged article should have a "compare and contrast" section describing the differences between them (aerosol vs high-order explosive to achieve air mixture, hydrocarbon vs metallic fuels (with different physical densities, energy densities, and monetary costs), use of a secondary charge to initiate tertiary detonation, sensitivity to atmospheric conditions, etc). I would be willing to write this section if need be, and have easy access to relevant references, but such a section would be less confusing if the rest of the article maintained some notion of the distinction. TTK (talk) 17:33, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

The article at thermobaric weapon is clearly the focus of viewing and editing on this general topic. Fuel-air bomb and fuel air bomb already redirect there. Fuel-air explosive has only two paragraphs, 14 edits total, and no references. I think a merge would facilitate reconciling the totality of information and clarifying the noted distinctions, so I'm executing it. ENeville (talk) 00:23, 14 April 2012 (UTC)
The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Sentences from movies[edit]

The sentences "High-impulse thermobaric fuel-air explosive consists of a two-stage aerosol ignition which produces a blast wave of significantly greater power and duration than any other known explosive except nuclear. The vacuum-pressure effect ignites the oxygen between 5,000 and 6,000 degrees." in the introduction have been taken word by word from the tv show "The Walking Dead" (episode 6, first season). Word by word, with the same mistakes (oxygen doesn't ignites itself, since ignition means oxidation: it oxidize/ignites things). This doesn't sound very encyclopedic to me. (talk) 14:24, 27 March 2012 (UTC) G. Rossi

Please add this redirect[edit]

Thermobaric explosive
Mentioned in CNN article (surprisingly, Vacuum bomb works).
~ender 2012-11-01 20:03:PM MST — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Unconfined Vapour Cloud Explosion shouldn't redirect here[edit]

In UVCE as encountered eg in a refinery the mechanism is different. After ignition of the vapour cloud an explosion occurs because of flame-front acceleration around structures; in the absence of vertical structure an explosion will not occur in open air. By contrast in thermobaric weapons the fuel is both dispersed and detonated by (generally) a HE charge. Rqb (talk) 18:03, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

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Unsourced assertion that "antipersonnel effect of the blast wave is more severe ... on people with body armor"'[edit]

I removed this unsourced assertion (see [4]). See instead [5], "The use of body armor is allowing soldiers to survive blasts that would otherwise be fatal due to systemic damage". JoeSperrazza (talk) 04:39, 7 September 2015 (UTC)

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unhealthy amount of bullshit[edit]

This article sources for several of its claims. This website is not a reliable source — it is UFO Nazi Conspiracy Theory stuff. This article needs to be better sourced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:58, 29 January 2017 (UTC)

Where? Wdford (talk) 13:19, 1 February 2017 (UTC)

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"They are, however, considerably more destructive when used against field fortifications such as foxholes, tunnels, bunkers, and caves—partly due to the sustained blast wave and partly by consuming the oxygen inside." Wouldn't they also be more destructiv because they hav a higher energy density, due to not having to carry oxidizer?--Solomonfromfinland (talk) 07:17, 22 August 2019 (UTC)

Something New[edit]

I have, of late, noticed that some scoundrel of low intellectual capability has been inserting high sounding articles into our cherished Wikipedia stores. This won't do. Sound the alarm. "One if by...something..." I would ask that WP get on the stick and rudder and stave off this attack. Bumblebrains are using high-sounding words and convoluted logic to sound like us. I mean smart people. This article is a good example. I feel that the barbarians are messing with the lock on the gate. Do not fail, or all is lost! God speed, John Glenn! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Longinus876 (talkcontribs) 18:04, 4 November 2019 (UTC)


Can’t find the patent anywhere online, marked it a dead link (under mechanism 6th link). Can anyone verify this? Lord David, Duke of Glencoe (talk) 05:41, 5 April 2020 (UTC)

Taifun B - Holger Eckhertz "D Day through German Eyes"[edit]

In regards to the "Disputed" German section, the book D Day through German Eyes by Holger Eckhertz has been thoroughly discussed online as German propaganda. The weapon "Taifun B" has literally no other mention online or in print besides this book. It is painfully obvious that if you read this book it is not factually accurate and as such, should not be used as a reliable source for this article. Anyone else ever talking about the weapon circularly references back to Eckhertz's book and there is nothing to support its veracity. Example: — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nerzzed (talkcontribs) 18:08, 5 April 2021 (UTC)