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"I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." - Albert Einstein
Nuclear Weapons States Briefing Nuclear Weapons States Briefing
Fears grow over possible depleted uranium use in Libya
Thursday, 31 March 2011
(Issued jointly with the UK Uranium Weapons Network)
Campaigners from the UK Uranium Weapons Network and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today expressed their growing alarm at the possibility that highly toxic and radioactive depleted uranium (DU) weapons have been used in Libya. The inhalation of DU particles, spread when the weapons hit their target, is thought to be linked to the sharp increases in cancer rates and birth defects reported in affected areas.
On Monday (28th March) the US Admiral William Gortney told the press that: "We have employed A-10s and AC-130s over the weekend" [note 4]. It is believed that six A-10s from 81st Fighter Squadron, which are typically armed with DU rounds, have been deployed [note 5].
A-10 gunships are designed to attack tanks, armour and other ground targets with their primary weapon - a cannon capable of firing either DU or high explosive rounds at a rate of 3,900 a minute. As armoured vehicles are being targeted it seems likely the cannons are loaded with the PGU-14 30mm armour piercing incendiary round, which contains a 300 gram DU penetrator. Strafing runs from A-10s can typically see hundreds of rounds being used, resulting in many kilograms of DU being fired.
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