What is a Vacuum Bomb? & How its Works?

What is a Vacuum Bomb

In today’s article, we’ll go over all there is to know about vacuum bombs.

Vacuum bombs also known as thermobaric weapons, aerosol bombs are particularly contentious as they inflict massive destruction compared to equivalent conventional explosives. These explosives have a catastrophic influence on its surroundings.

The targets are destroyed as the majority of the weapons rely on explosives to scatter metal shards whereas vacuum bomb uses oxygen from the surrounding air to cause a high-temperature explosion to destroy objects.

These are a new class of ammunition that is capable of vaporizing human beings.

How does a Vacuum Bomb work?

thermobaric weapon 2
image source: dailymail.co.uk

A vacuum bomb is a two-stage munition in which the first charge distributes aerosols to small metal particles and the second charge sparks that cloud, causing a shock wave that suckers up oxygen in the air and creates a vacuum surrounding the target region. According to specialists, the blast wave lasts for a substantially longer time compared to regular explosives.

A vacuum bomb comprises of a fuel container combined with two independent explosive charges. These explosives can be either launched like a rocket or dropped like a bomb from fighter aircraft. The bomb is capable of demolishing reinforced buildings, equipment and killing or wounding persons.

There are utilized for varied objectives and exist in a variety of sizes that even it can be used by individual soldiers and hand-held rocket launchers. The impact of this bomb is quite severe in enclosed settings. There is an upgraded version of this kind of bomb that is designed to target defenders in caverns and tube complexes.

Russia tested these thermobaric weapons in 2007. The explosion was equivalent to a 44-tonne conventional bomb, making it the world’s biggest non-nuclear explosive device.

This is particularly critical in the continuing war as Russian forces are aiming to take control of the capital, Kyiv, and other eastern cities of Ukraine.

Are there any rules for utilizing Vacuum Bombs?

thermobaric bomb
image credit: Adobe Stock

There are no international restrictions as of today governing its employment although if a government employs these bombs to murder civilians in built-up areas, schools, or hospitals, then it is deemed a war crime under the Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907.

Vacuum Bomb’s usage may be dated all the way back to the second World War when it was utilized by the German forces. The USA has used these bombs during the Vietnam war and also used them to strike al-Qaeda fighters hidden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan in 2001 after the twin-tower attack by terrorists.

In 1999, Russia employed them in its battle in Chechnya and these Russian-made bombs were utilized during the Syrian civil war in 2011.

 Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.


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