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Should the US Air Force Bomb Forest Fires?

An nameless reader quotes a document from Popular Mechanics: Earlier this summer time, the Swedish Air Force dropped a laser-guided bomb on a wooded area hearth to assist suppress the flames. Now there is a proposal for the United States to do the similar, using the might of the U.S. Air Force to fight America’s raging forest fires via bombs and sonic booms. F-15 Strike Eagle Weapon System Officer Mike Benitez, writing in War on the Rocks, proposes the usage of B-1 bombers crammed to the gills with bombs to fight wildfires on the American homefront. The thought here’s to snuff out fires the approach you’ll blow out birthday candles at the base. In Sweden, the shockwave from a unmarried bomb snuffed out flames inside a 100-yard radius of the have an effect on level. So, Benitez causes, why now not load up a heavy strategic bomber with as much as 84 bombs and perform a little critical firefighting?

Benitez selected the B-1 for his hypothetical state of affairs now not simplest on account of its bomb-carrying capacity, however for the similar reason why the heavy bomber was a detailed air toughen platform of selection in Afghanistan: its lengthy vary translated into patience over the battlefield, enabling the giant bomber to hang out above pleasant forces and bomb the Taliban for hours. The B-1 may just do donuts in the skies over a wildfire as firefighters on the floor figure out the perfect technique to take on it. The B-1 would not lift simply any bomb, both, however ordinance that used to be designed for firefighting. Most bombs use a metal casing that fragments into fatal shrapnel, however this might be pointless (and perilous) when preventing fires. A firefighting bomb would use a flamable casing that may fall apart on have an effect on. Ideally the bomb would use a thermobaric warhead, one who kills by way of overpressure, because it generates much more robust blast waves than conventional high-explosive bombs.

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