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Mark 84 General Purpose (GP) Bomb
Mk-84 xxl.jpg
A Mk 84 GP bomb
Type Low-drag general purpose bomb
Place of origin United States
Unit cost $3,100[1]
Weight 2039 lb (925 kg)
Length 129 in (3280 mm)
Diameter 18 in (458 mm)

Filling Tritonal, Minol or Composition H6
Filling weight 945 lb (429 kg)

The Mark 84 or BLU-117[2] is an American general-purpose bomb, it is also the largest of the Mark 80 series of weapons. Entering service during the Vietnam War, it became a commonly used US heavy unguided bomb (due to the amount of High-explosive content packed inside) to be dropped, second only to the 15,000 pounds (6,803.9 kg) BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" then in service and presently third only to the 22,600 lb (10,251.2 kg) GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) currently in service. Pilots flying the F-117 Nighthawk over Iraq during the first gulf war nicknamed it the "Hammer"[3] (albeit fitted with the GBU-27 Paveway III kit for use specially by the Nighthawks), for its considerable destructive power and blast radius.[3]

Development and deployment

An aviation ordnance technician handling the bomb body of a "thermally protected" (insulated to slow cook-off time in case of fire) Mark 84 aboard the USS George Washington

Sailors remove hoisting sling from a crate containing a pair of Mark 84 bomb bodies. Tailfins and fuzes have not yet been fitted

The Mark 84 has a nominal weight of 2,000 lb (907.2 kg), but its actual weight varies depending on its fin, fuze options, and retardation configuration, from 1,972 to 2,083 lb (894.5 to 944.8 kg). It is a streamlined steel casing filled with 945 lb (428.6 kg) of Tritonal high explosive.[1]

The Mark 84 is capable of forming a crater 50 feet (15.2 m) wide and 36 ft (11.0 m) deep. It can penetrate up to 15 inches (381.0 mm) of metal or 11 ft (3.4 m) of concrete, depending on the height from which it is dropped, and causes lethal fragmentation to a radius of 400 yards (365.8 m).[3]

Many Mark 84s have been retrofitted with stabilizing and retarding devices to provide precision guidance capabilities. They serve as the warhead of a variety of precision-guided munitions, including the GBU-10/GBU-24/GBU-27 Paveway laser-guided bombs, GBU-15 electro-optical bomb, GBU-31 JDAM and Quickstrike sea mines.[4]

According to a test report conducted by the United States Navy's Weapon System Explosives Safety Review Board (WSESRB) established in the wake of the 1967 USS Forrestal fire, the cooking off time for a Mk 84 is approximately 8 minutes 40 seconds.

Mk 84 exploding in North Vietnam, 1972.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Mk84 General Purpose Bomb". Federation of American Scientists. 23 April 2000. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 
  2. "Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Estimate Procurement of Ammunition". US Air Force. Retrieved 29 December 2011. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Don, Holloway (March 1996). "STEALTH SECRETS OF THE F-117 NIGHTHAWK: Its development was kept under wraps for 14 years, but by 1991, the F-117 nighthawk had become a household word.". Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Cowles Magazines. ISSN 1076-8858. 
  4. "Mk 65 Quick Strike Mine". Federation of American Scientists. 8 December 1998. Retrieved 1 September 2010. 

External links

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