Air Force Meets `The Graduate’: “Plastics.”

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Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jonathan Stefanko

Bombs hurt too much. That’s why the Air Force has just dropped a 500-pounder from a B-1 with a carbon fiber body – what you and I think of as plastic – instead of a metal case. It’s designed to destroy its target while minimizing the risk of collateral damage. The Pentagon ordered the bomb for urgent use in Central Command’s AOR, which likely means it’s bound for Afghanistan.

“In today’s fight, precision and accuracy are everything,” Major Thomas Bryant, of the Air Force’s 337th Test and Evaluation Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, told an Air Force public-affairs officer after the test on the Utah Test and Training Range last Friday. “Being able to take out a target while minimizing collateral damage gives combatant commanders a wide range of flexibility.”

Think of it as a kinder, gentler bomb.