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Mark 84 bomb

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Mark 84 General Purpose bomb
TypeLow-drag general-purpose bomb
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In serviceSince 1950s
Production history
ManufacturerGeneral Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems
Unit costUS$16,000
Mass2,039 lb (925 kg)
Length12 ft 7 in (3.84 m)
Diameter18 in (460 mm)

FillingTritonal, H6 or PBXN-109
Filling weight946 lb (429 kg)
ReferencesJanes[1][2][3][4][5] and The War Zone[6]

The Mark 84 or BLU-117[7] is a 2,000-pound (900 kg) American general-purpose bomb. It is the largest of the Mark 80 series of weapons. Entering service during the Vietnam War, it became a commonly used US heavy unguided bomb. At the time, it was the third largest bomb by weight in the US inventory behind the 15,000-pound (6,800 kg) BLU-82 "Daisy Cutter" and the 3,000-pound (1,400 kg) M118 "demolition" bomb. It is currently sixth in size due to the addition of the 5,000 lb (2,300 kg) GBU-28 in 1991, the 22,600 lb (10,300 kg) GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) in 2003, and the 30,000 lb (14,000 kg) Massive Ordnance Penetrator.

Development and use

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 kg), but its actual weight varies depending on its fin, fuze options, and retardation configuration, from 1,972 to 2,083 lb (894 to 945 kg). It is a streamlined steel casing filled with 945 lb (429 kg) of Tritonal high explosive.[8]

The Mark 84 is capable of forming a crater 50 feet (15 m) wide and 36 ft (11 m) deep. It can penetrate up to 15 inches (38 cm) 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 (370 m).[9]

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.[10] The HGK is a Turkish guidance kit used to convert 2000-lb Mark 84 bombs into GPS/INS guided smart bombs.[11]

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.

Deployment in wars

Mk 84 exploding in North Vietnam, 1972

MK 84 were used by U.S. forces in the Vietnam War, Iraq War and Afghanistan war and bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999[12] and by Israel in the 2014 Gaza War.[13]

According to a forensic investigation by Human Rights Watch, MK 84 bombs were also in the Saudi-led intervention in the Yemeni civil war.[14]

In 2023 and 2024, the US transferred over 14,000 Mark 84 bombs to Israel who uses them extensively to attack the Gaza strip throughout the Israel–Hamas War.[15][16][17]

See also



  1. ^ Janes (26 July 2022), "Mk 80 general‐purpose bombs (BLU‐110/111/117/126/129)", Janes Weapons: Air Launched, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 29 May 2023
  2. ^ Janes (29 November 2022), "GBU‐10/12/16/58 Paveway II", Janes Weapons: Air Launched, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 29 May 2023
  3. ^ Janes (21 November 2022), "GBU‐15 modular guided weapon", Janes Weapons: Air Launched, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 29 May 2023
  4. ^ Janes (1 December 2022), "GBU‐22, GBU‐24, GBU‐27 Paveway III, and Enhanced Paveway III", Janes Weapons: Air Launched, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 29 May 2023
  5. ^ Janes (29 November 2022), "GBU‐31/32/38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM)", Janes Weapons: Air Launched, Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane's Group UK Limited., retrieved 29 May 2023
  6. ^ Newdick, Thimas; Rogoway, Tyler (15 December 2022). "What Joint Direct Attack Munitions could do for Ukraine". The War Zone. Miami, New York & San Francisco: Recurrent Ventures. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  7. ^ "Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Estimate Procurement of Ammunition" (PDF). US Air Force. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Mk84 General Purpose Bomb". Federation of American Scientists. 23 April 2000. Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  9. ^ 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". Aviation History. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Cowles Magazines. ISSN 1076-8858.
  10. ^ "Mk 65 Quick Strike Mine". Federation of American Scientists. 8 December 1998. Archived from the original on 18 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010.
  11. ^ "Precision Guidance Kit (HGK)". TÜBİTAK-SAGE. 2013. Archived from the original on 22 February 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  12. ^ Janačković, Branko (20 April 2024). "U toku završne pripreme za uklanjanje bombe sa gradilišta u Nišu" [In the course of final preparations for removing the bomb from the construction site in Niš]. Blic (in Serbian). Archived from the original on 22 April 2024. Retrieved 14 May 2024.
  13. ^ "Faulty, indiscriminate, lethal: Israel opts for Vietnam-era bombs in Gaza". www.middleeasteye.net. 17 August 2021. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  14. ^ "Yemen: US Bombs Used in Deadliest Market Strike". www.hrw.org. 7 April 2016. Retrieved 30 March 2024. Human Rights Watch conducted on-site investigations on March 28, and found remnants at the market of a GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a US-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, ...
  15. ^ "US has agreed to send more bombs and warplanes to Israel, sources say". www.reuters.com. 29 March 2024. Retrieved 30 March 2024. The new arms packages include more than 1,800 MK84 2,000-pound bombs and 500 MK82 500-pound bombs, said the sources, who confirmed a report in the Washington Post.
  16. ^ "Visual Evidence Shows Israel Dropped 2,000-Pound Bombs Where It Ordered Gaza's Civilians to Move for Safety". www.nytimes.com. 21 December 2023. Retrieved 30 March 2024.
  17. ^ https://www.reuters.com/world/us-has-sent-israel-thousands-2000-pound-bombs-since-oct-7-2024-06-28/