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The E61 anthrax bomblet was an American biological sub-munition for the E133 cluster bomb. This anti-personnel weapon was developed in the early 1950s and carried 35 milliliters of anthrax spores or another pathogen.


Around October 1953 the United States Air Force reoriented its biological warfare program. One result of this, in anti-personnel weaponry, was a move away from weapons such as the M33 cluster bomb to the lethal E61 anthrax bomb.[1] The E61 was first developed in January 1951 as both an anti-personnel and anti-animal weapon capable of being clustered and dropped from a medium height.[2] On March 5, 1954 a directive from the U.S. Department of Defense altered the course of the U.S. biological weapons program.[3] The program shifted focus to developing munitions that were not only improved but those that could be delivered by high speed aircraft and balloon.[3] The weapons referred to included the E61 bomblet.[3]


The E61 bomblet was a 230 grams (12 lb)[3] anti-personnel bomb designed to be carried in the E133 cluster bomb.[4][5] The cluster bomb was designed to hold about 540 of the E61 anthrax bomblets.[4][5] The E61 held about 35 milliliters of agent[6] and a variety of pathogens could be used,[5] generally anthrax spores.[3][4] The E61 was perceived as superior to its predecessors, the M33 cluster bomb and its payload of M114 bombs.[2][6] In fact, four of the smaller E61 bomblets produced twice the coverage area of the larger M114 bomb.[6] Upon impact the E61 would detonate releasing an aerosol of its anthrax spore laden slurry into the air of its target area.[5]

See also


  1. Whitby, Simon M. Biological Warfare Against Crops, (Google Books), Macmillan, 2002, pp. 114-15, (ISBN 0333920856).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Endicott, Stephen Lyon and Hagerman, Edward. The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, (Google Books), Indiana University Press, 1998, p. 72, (ISBN 0253334721).
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism, (Google Books), Columbia University Press, 2005, p. 101, (ISBN 0231129424).
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cirincione, Joseph. Deadly Arsenals:, (Google Books), APH, New Delhi: 2004, p. 60, (ISBN 8176487325).
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Chauhan, Sharad. Biological Weapons, (Google Books), APH, New Dehli: 2004, p. 197, (ISBN 8176487325).
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Smart, Jeffery K. Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare: Chapter 2 - History of Chemical and Biological Warfare: An American Perspective, (PDF: p. 51 - p.43 in PDF), Borden Institute, Textbooks of Military Medicine, PDF via Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, accessed December 28, 2008.

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