Low Collateral Small Bomb on the Way

The demand in Iraq and Afghanistan for precision weapons that minimize collateral damage and reduce shrapnel is driving the development of a new variant of the Small Diameter Bomb called the Focused Lethality Munition, senior Air Force acquisition leaders told reporters Thursday. The weapon will carry a 250-pound warhead that is superb for taking out bad guys in tight spots where civilians might be present, but it still has a good amount of shrapnel that can impact the surrounding area, said Lt. Gen. Donald Hoffman. The FLM, in testing currently, has a similar blast effect but the radius diminishes quickly due to a new woven casing as opposed to a traditional steel casing. A typical bomb has shrapnel that can go a long distance after impact, said Maj. Gen. Mark Shackelford. Without deadly shrapnel, nearby civilians and other friendlies stand a much lower risk of being injured or killed in a precision strike, he added.