News: Recently, Russia is accused of using a vacuum bomb amid tensions with Ukraine. Read the News Here.
Let’s Understand in Simple Language:
Russia has been accused of using deadly vacuum bombs, also called thermobaric bombs or fuel-air explosives, during its ongoing invasion of neighboring country Ukraine. Claims of the use of vacuum bombs have not been officially verified, but ground reports suggest that Russian thermobaric rocket launchers have been spotted in Ukraine.
What is a Vacuum bomb?:
A thermobaric weapon, also called an aerosol bomb, a vacuum bomb, or a fuel-air explosive (FAE), is a type of explosive that uses oxygen from the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion.
A vacuum bomb sucks in oxygen from the surrounding area to generate a high-temperature explosion. The bomb produces a blast wave that can last for a significantly longer duration in comparison to a conventional explosive. The vacuum bomb is capable of vaporizing human bodies.
It is an advanced weapon of destruction that is capable of destroying reinforced buildings and vaporizing human bodies within its area of impact.
The bomb consists of a fuel container and two separate explosive charges. When a vacuum bomb hits the target, the first charge ignites the container and disperses the fuel that mixes with oxygen in the air. The second charge detonates this fuel cloud, causing shockwaves and high-temperature explosions. The detonation of the cloud creates a massive fireball, sucking all the oxygen in the blast radius.
The fuel cloud can penetrate unsealed or poorly-sealed buildings, making the bomb far more dangerous than conventional weapons. The blast wave can last for significantly longer than that caused by a conventional explosive. The bombs create a pressure wave that sucks out the oxygen and can rupture the lungs of the victim.
A vacuum bomb can be launched like a rocket or dropped from an aircraft.
Watch this video to know more:
Were Vacuum Bombs previously used?
Thermobaric munitions can be traced back to World War 2 when they were initially used by the German army. They were not widely developed until the 1960s when the US used them in Vietnam.
The US also used them in Afghanistan. First, in 2001 to destroy al-Qaeda forces hiding in the caves of the Tora Bora mountains, and in 2017, against Islamic State forces.
Russia used them in its war in Chechnya in 1999 and later during the Syrian Civil War.
International law does not prohibit the use of thermobaric munitions, fuel-air explosive devices, or vacuum bombs against military targets. Their use against civilian populations may be banned by the United Nations (UN) Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). As the United States has thermobaric weapons in its military inventory, it is unlikely that they will be explicitly listed, or that there will be a treaty banning their use.
As per Amnesty International, the international humanitarian law prohibits the use of inherently indiscriminate weapons such as cluster munitions, and launching of such indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians constitutes a war crime.
Questions related to the topic:
Q. What are cluster munitions?
Q. Discuss the legality of weapons such as the vacuum bomb.
Q. Which of the following countries have nuclear weapons?
C. Both A and B
D. Neither A nor B
Q. Thermonuclear bomb works on the principle of:
C. Both A and B
D. None of the above
Q. During an atomic explosion, the energy released is due to:
A. Conversion of protons into neutrons.
B. Conversion of chemical energy into heat energy.
C. Conversion of mechanical energy into nuclear energy.
D. Conversion of mass into energy.
More on this website for your UPSC Preparation:
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS: https://currentaffairsupsc.in/international-relations/
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: https://currentaffairsupsc.in/science-technology/
ENVIRONMENT & ECO.: https://currentaffairsupsc.in/environment-ecology-and-biodiversity/