New bombs less likely to go off accidentally - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

New bombs less likely to go off accidentally

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A new class of bombs designed to keep them from accidentally detonating is in the works. They're called "insensitive munitions," and are now being produced for the Navy and Air Force.

A Zuni rocket accidentally discharged, flying across the flight deck of the USS Forrestal and hitting a fuel tank. Next thing sailors know, there's jet fuel everywhere and flames that cause a bomb to heat up and explode, killing 134 sailors. It happened July 29,1967, but even now, 44 years later, the military continues to take steps to prevent something like it from ever happening again.

"This new bomb system, called insensitive munitions, is designed in such a way as to keep that unintended secondary explosion from occurring," Military.com editor Ward Carroll said.

The secret is in the casing, built to withstand extreme heat like an unexpected fire.

"It has a way of venting the heat as it builds up and then also the way the wiring and internal stuff happen as well," Carroll said.

But the bomb still goes off when you want it to in tactical situations. For sailors who spent time on the Forrestal, insensitive munitions are a huge step in the right direction.

"I think that'll be a very big step forward, not just in safety, but protection of the seas that the US Navy is," Chet Kuzontkoski said.

Kuzontkoski wasn't on the Forrestal at the time of the explosion, but was there for its very next deployment.

"The flight deck is very, very busy and very, very dangerous," he said.

Which is why he says the person you're working with on it can either kill you or save your life. And here in San Diego, with our strong military presence, anything that can save a life on a ship is a very good thing.

"An airfield at Miramar or North Island, or one of the ships at sea out of San Diego… you want to prevent this from happening," Carroll said.

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