It’s all about soil

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Last updated on July 24th, 2017 at 08:21 am

Webdiary inhabitant Kerryn Higgs updates us on Australia’s occupying forces:

As the US military presence is quietly extended across the country …

And people said the US military was already stretched beyond capacity in Iraq! Higgs is hot for the new documentary Blowin’ in the Wind, an exposé—no, make that a searing exposé—on depleted uranium:

We are not being told whether DU weapons have been or will be fired on our soil.

Well, of course we aren’t being told. Can’t let the soil know about this. We are at war, you know. No blood for soil!

Many locals living near bombing ranges are very worried – for their health, their fertility and their livelihoods.

They’re worried about their health, and they live near bombing ranges? These people don’t sound very informed.

Posted by Tim B. on 08/03/2005 at 12:35 AM
    1. Many locals, living near cordial factories are worried about what “they” do with that RED colouring.

      Many locals, living near the ocean, are worried about salinity.

      Many locals, living near offices, are worried about the latest industrial relations reforms.

      Many locals, living near dirt, are worried about gravity.

      Who are these people called “locals” and can someone get them a valium?

      Posted by allan on 2005 08 03 at 01:56 AM • permalink


    1. Who lives within coo-ee of Shoalwater Bay? It’s a taipan-infested shithole (literally- there are areas of “foul ground” all over the place; this is army euphamism for disused latrines). The only inhabitants anywhere around there are some inbreeds up in the highlands between Marlborough and Sarina, who occasionally come whooping out of the hills to butcher unwary travellers. Spent uranium? The place could use a few megatons. Particularly when being laid siege by hostile forces.

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 03 at 02:04 AM • permalink


    1. Life must be tough for those neighbours of bombing ranges, what with dodging stray ordnance at all hours of the day and night, without having to worry about DU as well.

      Imagine the constant worry about the extreme radioactivity of depleted uranium. (Hmmm, I wonder what ‘depleted’ refers to … I know, it must mean that the US removes, or depletes, the U-238 metal in order to raise the radioactivity, so as to more efficiently poison enemy children.)

      The Australian Defence Force takes sadistic pleasure in weapons that inflict a slow death on our enemies, and that’s why all Australian M-1 tanks and A-10 attack aircraft use DU.

      Posted by Lionel Mandrake on 2005 08 03 at 02:22 AM • permalink


    1. Oh Lionel,
      Go in peace my son. Go somewhere else.—Nora

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 02:30 AM • permalink


    1. Craft E, Abu-Qare A, Flaherty M, Garofolo M, Rincavage H, Abou-Donia M.Depleted and natural uranium: chemistry and toxicological effects. J Toxicol Environ Health B Crit Rev. 2004 Jul-Aug;7(4):297-317.

      Depleted uranium (DU) is a by-product from the chemical enrichment of naturally occurring uranium. Natural uranium is comprised of three radioactive isotopes: (238)U, (235)U, and (234)U. This enrichment process reduces the radioactivity of DU to roughly 30% of that of natural uranium. Nonmilitary uses of DU include counterweights in airplanes, shields against radiation in medical radiotherapy units and transport of radioactive isotopes. DU has also been used during wartime in heavy tank armor, armor-piercing bullets, and missiles, due to its desirable chemical properties coupled with its decreased radioactivity. DU weapons are used unreservedly by the armed forces. Chemically and toxicologically, DU behaves similarly to natural uranium metal. Although the effects of DU on human health are not easily discerned, they may be produced by both its chemical and radiological properties. DU can be toxic to many bodily systems, as presented in this review. Most importantly, normal functioning of the kidney, brain, liver, and heart can be affected by DU exposure. Numerous other systems can also be affected by DU exposure, and these are also reviewed. Despite the prevalence of DU usage in many applications, limited data exist regarding the toxicological consequences on human health. This review focuses on the chemistry, pharmacokinetics, and toxicological effects of depleted and natural uranium on several systems in the mammalian body. A section on risk assessment concludes the review.

      (emphasis added). Note the scientific uncertainty surrounding the toxicologu of DU. To hell with that! Let embrace web diary hysteria!

      Posted by niobium2000 on 2005 08 03 at 03:02 AM • permalink


    1. Here is another:

      Sztajnkrycer MD, Otten EJ. Chemical and radiological toxicity of depleted uranium. Mil Med. 2004 Mar;169(3):212-6.

      They note that “Heavy-metal nephrotoxicity has not been noted in either animal studies or Gulf War veteran cohort studies despite markedly elevated urinary uranium excretion.” … “No significant residual environmental contamination has been found in geographical areas exposed to DU.” …“that DU poses neither a radiological nor chemical threat.”

      Posted by niobium2000 on 2005 08 03 at 03:05 AM • permalink


    1. Now, now, please do not provoke the hysterics by telling them that:

      1. We don’t have the Abrams in service yet

      2. Nothing else in ADF inventory uses, can use, or has ever used DU ammo

      3. When we get the Abrams we are NOT getting DU penetrator darts in the APDS rounds, but (IIRC) APDS with tungsten penetrator darts

      4. For cost reasons, when the US exercises here, they use the utterly deadly hyper-toxic steel practise ammo (Du=warshots=expensive stuff, you practise with cheap stuff)

      5. We don’t allow use of DU anyway because it frightens the hysterics, makes Helen Caldicott lay square eggs, and would turn Bob Brown straight.

      And we don’t want the bastard breeding, do we?

      These people are total cretins!


      Posted by MarkL on 2005 08 03 at 03:34 AM • permalink


    1. And here my quick once over had me wondering what on earth Democratic Underground weapons were.

      Posted by Nilknarf Arbed on 2005 08 03 at 03:45 AM • permalink


    1. #4 For the benefit of Nora, perhaps I should mention that my #3 was meant as sarcasm.

      As Niobium and Mark have pointed out, the health consequences of DU are not proven,* and in any event the ADF doesn’t use the freakin stuff and isn’t likely to.

      * (I should however mention that several medical studies have found that Iraqi soldiers who were hit by a 120mm kinetic penetrator in the head did suffer a range of adverse health effects for some time, including headaches and mild nausea.)

      Posted by Lionel Mandrake on 2005 08 03 at 03:46 AM • permalink


    1. Depleted uranium bombs are more compact than the usual heavy safe, when dealing with a stubborn enemy.

      Posted by rhhardin on 2005 08 03 at 04:05 AM • permalink


    1. “3. When we get the Abrams we are NOT getting DU penetrator darts in the APDS rounds, but (IIRC) APDS with tungsten penetrator darts “

      WHAT? That deserves a protest of it’s own, why should we be spending money on multi-million dollar tanks if we’re too PC to use proper ammunition. Read up on Operation Desert Storm if you want to find out how useless tungsten darts are against first rate tanks.

      Posted by AussieJim on 2005 08 03 at 04:09 AM • permalink


    1. Frazzledy Fran Kelly this morning on r.n.“THE WAR ON TERROR—-the name has changed- its OFFICIAL, its to be blacklisted.”
      Guest—an expert in cognitive linguistics and COACH to the Democrats..
      “The phrase war on terror is politically inconvenient now its been linked to Iraq.”
      It seems that dastardly Moriarty er Dubya,used the phrase when it was convenient,to raise thousands of billions.
      Now he’s LOSING its to be called”the Global Struggle against Violent Extremism”.etc..

      Posted by crash on 2005 08 03 at 04:10 AM • permalink


    1. Why are the Americans more scary? They use DU to hit tanks (that is, enemy forces), and do not deliberately use crude plastic explosive to hit trains full of civilian workers in the subway.

      Posted by blogstrop on 2005 08 03 at 04:30 AM • permalink


    1. o/t …however the abc did say “the war on salinity”today.NO so-called about it.

      Posted by crash on 2005 08 03 at 04:40 AM • permalink


    1. Shouldn’t it be the couragous rural proletariat struggle against sodium chloride imperialism?

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 03 at 05:17 AM • permalink


    1. crash, let me guess…it was this guy again?

      Posted by PW on 2005 08 03 at 05:28 AM • permalink


    1. Anyone care what the World Health Organization has to say about DU?

      Posted by Steven Den Beste on 2005 08 03 at 05:29 AM • permalink


    1. Sounds like those arse-wipes who purchased cheap land next door to the Greenbank, Wacol and Tin Can Bay ranges, then spent eternity whining and bitching, calling the CO at 1am, every time a trooper so much as farted inside a closed turret.

      Posted by murph on 2005 08 03 at 05:54 AM • permalink


    1. Ditto Lennox Head, where the RAAF do bomb runs in pigs and have done so in other aircraft since the ‘30s. A pity they don’t “accidently” stray off course from time to time a drop the odd 500lb iron bomb on some whinging superannuated new agers. I used to love Northern NSW before it was infested by these dingbats.
      BTW, these well-heeled ome-worlders seem to have a magnetic attraction to ordnance- Noosa used to be a naval range as well, and the odd shell still bobs up when some mong is digging in their yard, probably to plant a sinsimella bush.

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 03 at 06:30 AM • permalink


    1. Not all us diarists are crackpots. I humbly offer myself to be (at least slightly) less insane or inane then most. But since I have my own blog these days, I might post less. It’s just to shamelessly self promote (cause I only just started today). But its nice to have an argument(s) with people down there.

      Posted by Stuart Lord on 2005 08 03 at 07:17 AM • permalink


    1. Re #17:  From your link, Steven:

      Under most circumstances, use of DU will make a negligible contribution to the overall natural background levels of uranium in the environment. Probably the greatest potential for DU exposure will follow conflict where DU munitions are used.

      A recent United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report giving field measurements taken around selected impact sites in Kosovo (Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) indicates that contamination by DU in the environment was localized to a few tens of metres around impact sites. Contamination by DU dusts of local vegetation and water supplies was found to be extremely low. Thus, the probability of significant exposure to local populations was considered to be very low.

      [snip], and down to the money quote:

      For the general population, neither civilian nor military use of DU is likely to produce exposures to DU significantly above normal background levels of uranium. Therefore, individual exposure assessments for DU will normally not be required. Exposure assessments based on environmental measurements may, however, be needed for public information and reassurance.

      There’s more there, much of the same.  The recommendations are largely common sense, like clean the stuff up if there’s enough of it laying around, etc. 

      But I don’t see any “omigawd that’s DU and now we’re gonna die” scenarios listed.  And this from the United Nations World Health Organization.  Webdiary residents, please take note.  You can thank WHO, once you stop foaming at the mouth.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 03 at 07:18 AM • permalink


    1. Stuart- don’t say anything naughty or derogatory about the Margoyle or Webdiary on your blog, or one of Margo’s malignant minions will dob you in and they’ll ban you faster than Marilyn Shepherd typing an indignant reply to a post critical of her ratbag posturings. I speak from experience- I lasted two weeks before being deported permamently from the fetid fens of Fairfax.

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 03 at 07:33 AM • permalink


    1. My training sargent provided the best answer to the question about the danger of DU shells: “Don’t lick the (APDS)DU.”  Of course after he left the classroom we started chanting at the guy who asked the question “Lick it! Lick it! Lick it!”

      Good times

      Posted by Blue on 2005 08 03 at 08:10 AM • permalink


    1. Just out of curiosity why would you use DU on a bombing range? DU is used in kinetic energy penetrators (because of its high density), with bombs HE does the work.

      Posted by Harry Buttle on 2005 08 03 at 08:21 AM • permalink


    1. The KE turns the DU into a shaped metallic gas that cuts through armour.

      Posted by Rob Read on 2005 08 03 at 08:34 AM • permalink


    1. Correct, Harry, there are no DU bombs (unless you include the comment threads at the DU web site, nyuck nyuck nyuck!).

      But “bomb ranges” are often a misnomer.  The more accurate term is “impact area”, and can include all sorts of lovely hardware, ranging from small arms to Mark 84 bombs.  Terrain dedicated to military shooteries is scarce, and in recent years, what was a dedicated “bombing range” (i.e., nothing but bombs) became multipurpose impact areas.  So direct fire weapons could be used.  Still, as MarkL pointed out, DU ammo is expensive, and limited for training purposes.

      But “bombing range” is still in the vocabulary.  One has to make allowances for the uninitiated.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 03 at 08:34 AM • permalink


    1. #25: Rob, HEAT rounds use copper for that, not DU. Uranium would be a terrible choice because it’s flammable; copper isn’t, and forms a high pressure liquid stream in order to penetrate armor.

      Posted by Steven Den Beste on 2005 08 03 at 08:57 AM • permalink


    1. Where would all the oxygen come from?

      Posted by Rob Read on 2005 08 03 at 09:48 AM • permalink


    1. It’s funny that all those who are worried that DU weapons will contaminate Australian soil don’t seem to know that Australia is the worlds second largest source of uranium.  But it’s the firing ranges which are considered the pollution risk.  Is it because they are full of Americans?  Note to Aussie moonbats:  When you call us ‘septics’, it’s rhyming slang, not a factual description.

      Posted by jic on 2005 08 03 at 10:14 AM • permalink


    1. Damn! Kerryn found us out! We are taking Australia for the oil. You do have oil, right?

      Posted by Latino on 2005 08 03 at 10:39 AM • permalink


    1. Lefties should never talk about ordnance-related matters. It’s like Baptists talking about punk rock.

      You just know that the majority of the people think that DU rounds are explosive bombs that spread radiation hither and yon. Not that explaining the concept of anti-tank penetrators would stop their prating.

      (Prating? Sorry about that. I’m in the middle of Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, and it’s affecting my vocabulary. I cry your pardon.)

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 08 03 at 11:41 AM • permalink


    1. Dave S has it right. Most of these webdiary type idiots who rave about the toxic effects of DU have never been closer to any sort of ordnance than the sparklers they wave around on Gaia’s birthing day or the summer solstice.

      I kind of like the idea of a radioactive crayfish glowing away in the aquarium, however. Cosmic, dude.

      Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2005 08 03 at 01:10 PM • permalink


    1. #9 thanks Lionel. For simple souls like me, it might be best to use the standard HTML mark up – I quite like /sarcasm)

      Posted by The Thin Man Returns on 2005 08 03 at 06:19 PM • permalink


    1. You just know that the majority of the people think that DU rounds are explosive bombs that spread radiation hither and yon.

      I’ve heard statements to that effect directly from the mouths of moonbats.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 2005 08 03 at 06:43 PM • permalink


    1. Stuart- don’t say anything naughty or derogatory about the Margoyle or Webdiary on your blog, or one of Margo’s malignant minions will dob you in and they’ll ban you faster than Marilyn Shepherd typing an indignant reply to a post critical of her ratbag posturings. I speak from experience- I lasted two weeks before being deported permamently from the fetid fens of Fairfax.

      Uh, well I think I can beat that.  I lasted two comments.  I really don’t think they were that bad either.  But evidently Margo did. 

      How ironic that someone so adamant about the need for democracy would be opposed to publishing an opposing point of view.

      Posted by wronwright on 2005 08 03 at 07:21 PM • permalink


    1. And here my quick once over had me wondering what on earth Democratic Underground weapons were.





      Help me here, folks.

      Posted by N. O’Brain on 2005 08 03 at 07:45 PM • permalink


    1. When we get the Abrams we are NOT getting DU penetrator darts in the APDS rounds, but (IIRC) APDS with tungsten penetrator darts

      Why bother?  And no one uses DU rounds in training; they’re too expensive.  Also, I believe DU rounds are available in 25mm for the Bushmaster and 30mm for the GAU-8 30mm on the A-10. (By the way, you can get a nice modular GAU-2 rotary cannon (two-barrel) firing the same round to retrofit to other aircraft).

      And you do realize the recent Supreme Court Kelo ruling means you can appropriate Byron Bay as an impact area, right?  Have fun!

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 08 03 at 07:55 PM • permalink


    1. I tried to provide some constructive feedback to one of the irritatingly regular WD contributors, but they won’t publish my comments, and this, despite the fact that they frequently publish paint-stripping rabid and abusive ravings from people such as Marilyn Shepard (well, daily really).

      They did publish my other feedback, in which I noted the total lack of editorial consideration given to the quality of the contributions, but they seem to have ignored those comments, hence my need to address the contributors directly.

      I too set up my own, totally random-topic, blog the other week, so I could use that for my constructive WD feedback, but no-one would see it…

      Anyhow, Tim, Andrea, and all & sundry, perhaps you will indulge me? The following was my helpful input to raising the bar on WD…I thought this was very constructive…and I put so much thought into it…where did I go wrong?
      Darlene – it’s not your style that’s a problem. In fact, your own little style is just fine, if only you could figure out what the hell to do with it, or if, indeed, it has enough holding power to be worth doing anything with…and you seem to be regressing in this regard, rather than progressing.

      How do I put this, without sounding critical?

      It’s not your style, it’s your total lack of… well…um…you know…your lack of substance and stuff, lack of content, lack of internal coherence, your refusal to at least try to have some vague and wishy-washy but really important or bizarre point to make.

      The enormous void, the great gapping chasm where an idea should be, or several ideas, preferably linked by something other than a pair of pink fluffy hand cuffs.

      Your total disregard for having anything to say, or perhaps it’s your total dedication to having nothing to say about lots of random topics that can’t be identified, and then insisting on crapping on about nothing, with no topic at all, for many hundreds of words. Even your post headings defy interpretation.

      Maybe you’re just on better drugs than the rest of us, and each piece, in your mind, is a step closer to having your very own opinion column in No Idea, or the SMH, or NW. Which is just fine, really. We all need fantasies, so just keep those digits to the keyboard, if it makes you happy, but don’t expect a call with that award or opinion column during this life time, it just ain’t gonna happen.

      Perhaps, in each of your pieces, you are attempting to follow Solomon’s example by having one vapid “money shot”, covered within between 5 to 25 words, with the remaining hundreds of words provided as filler only (which could be labeled “this is not a toy”, “keep away from children and dispose of carefully”?), not unlike the marzipan that no-one likes on the fruit cake…well, you know, because it contributes nothing, no-one likes the taste, everyone has trouble figuring out how to spit it out without anyone noticing, and no-one can ever understand what the hell it’s doing there spoiling a perfectly decent bit of cake.

      Little stuff like all of that is the problem Darlene, not your style…you know?

      PS – Get some sleep Darlene, there’s no reason to be waiting up. [Explanatory note: Darlene wrote, in follow up to comments – “To suggest that I write in a combination of Lumby and Devine is such a compliment I’m so excited I won’t sleep tonight…]

      End of my feedback to WD…unpublished.

      Avatar Briefs

      Posted by Ck on 2005 08 03 at 10:32 PM • permalink


    1. Couple of technical points:

      DU is a kinetic penetrator – it doesn’t melt into a stream – copper cones in HEAT warheads do that.  A 120mm DU penetrator will knock the engine block of a T-72 about 50 to 100 meters out the back of it.  It does that as a solid lump.  On penetration it does create streams of hot gas which also do damage, like causing the ammuntion in the turret to explode, which is why you see destroyed T-72 with the turrets blown off.

      Australia doesn’t have DU ammo but does have a number of weapon ssytems that could be armed with DU ammo if we wanted.  We don’t because of the politics and the expense – if we really want it, I’m sure the US would sell us some in good time.

      We don’t have A-10s.

      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 03 at 11:09 PM • permalink


    1. I’m always amazed at the tremendous knowledge of weaponry and ordinance displayed by many commenters to this blog.  In my high school days, I actually owned a set of Marshall Cavendish books on World War II which gave considerable detail on guns, ships, etc.  But I have no doubt that some of you could identify mistakes in even those books.

      But it does make me wonder how many of you actually own some of this stuff.  Nothing like a fully stocked arsenal to protect democracy.  Maybe that’s what Margo had in mind?

      Posted by wronwright on 2005 08 03 at 11:19 PM • permalink


    1. wronwright – after 13 years as an Officer in the Army in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps and being Tank trained, hopefully some information is retained.

      Percute Percute Velociter

      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 03 at 11:25 PM • permalink


    1. And you do realize the recent Supreme Court Kelo ruling means you can appropriate Byron Bay as an impact area, right?  Have fun!

      Just don’t tell the inhabitants first

      Posted by Rachel Corrie’s Flatmate on 2005 08 03 at 11:27 PM • permalink


    1. Sadly, wronwright, Uncle Sam won’t let us take home some of the marvelous gadgets in the military arsenal, especially at the level of destructive capability that has been discussed in this thread.  So we don’t own anything like that.  There is wisdom in this, but still, one must mourn not having, say, a 105mm howitzer in the front yard.  Only as a private war memorial, you must understand. 

      Having said that, a significant number of the commenters on this blog are either veterans or serving members of the Armed Forces of various nations and services.  Add in the scientists, engineers, and a variety of technically oriented people, and there’s a good pool of technical expertise here.  Which is another difference between this blog and Webdiary.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 04 at 01:13 AM • permalink


    1. #30 – not a huge amount of oil, but a shitload of gas, as in LNG type gas, not petrol gas, and at the moment we are trying to get Californians to build an LNG unloading facility to buy lots and lots of our LNG.  Unfortunately it is cleaner than oil, so you may not want to take us over.

      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 04 at 01:44 AM • permalink


    1. Plenty of dinosaur juice in Bass Straight, and a fair bit in the Timor Sea, plus lotsa luverly uranium for refining into fuel rods, weapons grade goodies and the leftovers to slap on the end of some 40mm duster rounds. Plenty of high-grade coal as well, just to give Euroweenies the shits when you burn it or sell it to the Chinese and the Indians. Unfortunately we are also very rich in hippies, ‘60s throwbacks, Sorbonne uprising wanna-bes and the sort of white trash that breeds and steals cars, not the good sort that plays boogie and drives nascar. Swings and roundabouts really

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 04 at 09:00 AM • permalink


    1. It’s my understanding that a kinetic penetrator is traveling at such high velocity when it penetrates a tank that the friction causes the metal surrounding the entrance hole to melt, which gets sprayed inside the tank, possibly setting off ammo and definitely causing, ahhh, discomfort to the crew. Is this correct?

      BTW, Jeff, you left “geek” off your list. That would be me. You know, guys who are trying to obtain the collected works of Ian V. Hogg.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 08 04 at 10:40 AM • permalink


    1. wronwright… uhh… yeah!  Right! What the Real JeffS said!  Absolutely!

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 08 04 at 11:57 AM • permalink


    1. ”…and a variety of technically oriented people…”

      That’s politespeak for “techno-geek”, Dave!  I have to include myself in that category, by the way.

      The impact of a kinetic energy weapon turns part of the the armor and all of the projectile into plasma and a shock wave with a vector towards the target.  This plasma jet and shock wave, in turn, penetrates inside the hull by blowing a larger hole.  The resultant shock wave, plasma, and metal fragments cause some or all of the ammo to sympathetically detonate, and, not so incidentally, kill the crew.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 04 at 12:27 PM • permalink


    1. and, not so incidentally

      C’mon, everybody knows the military is a bunch of bumbling fools who are throwing DU bombs in foreign countries simply because it’s fun to poison the innocent locals. You almost make it sound as though you guys actually know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.


      Posted by PW on 2005 08 04 at 12:36 PM • permalink


    1. What about cluster bombs targetted at orphans and baby seals? The indescriminate destruction of archaelogically important caves with MOABs and bunker busters?

      Posted by Habib on 2005 08 04 at 07:06 PM • permalink


    1. Actually, the cluster bombs aren’t targeted at orphans and baby seals, they are loaded with orphans and baby seals.  There’s no tactical reason, it’s just for the joy of pure evil.

      Posted by jic on 2005 08 04 at 07:41 PM • permalink


    1. One of the great engineering plans on the Russian T-72/80 series zippos was the provision of an open autoloader.  Aside from the tendency to occasionally feed the gunner or TC into the breach, it means there’s ALWAYS an exposed round sitting in the crew compartment whenever hostile fire gets through.

      Another is their putting the fuel tank inside the frontal armor wedge.  A hard enough hit sends a shockwave that ruptures the fuel lines and fills the crew compartment with an air/fuel mixture Timothy McVeigh could only dream of.

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 2005 08 04 at 08:30 PM • permalink


    1. I read somewhere that the fire suppression system used a toxic gas. That seems dumb even by Russki standards, so I’m calling bogus.

      Posted by Dave S. on 2005 08 04 at 09:14 PM • permalink


    1. Dave S, the fire suppression system you are talking about was probably a halon extinguisher.  They are very efficient at putting out a fires, very low concentrations of halon being effective. The only problem with them is that the halon can break down in the presence of burning metal to produce phosgene, once popular as a chemical warfare agent.  Safer alternatives are now available, but the Russians were not being stupid to use halon.  I know it was widely used in aircraft, and I imagine it would have been the first choice for American tanks, too. You can’t use CO2 in a confined space, because it would smother everybody (it’s damn cold, too).

      Posted by jic on 2005 08 04 at 09:38 PM • permalink


    1. I know this info is probably very important but to a technodork like me this is the most boring topic I have ever seen at this blog.
      I am happy for you guys to just blast the shit out of any ragheads/hippies/LWMBs you want, just spare me the details.

      Posted by Harold on 2005 08 04 at 09:41 PM • permalink


    1. You know, Harold, you don’t have to read this thread if you don’t want to.  There’s not a test at the end.

      Posted by jic on 2005 08 04 at 09:44 PM • permalink


    1. The_Real_Jeffs, I’ll stand corrected but I didn’t think all of the DU penetrator turned to plasma – I know I’ve found DS-T Prac rounds around Puckapunyal, but I never found any of the black pointy ones we fired in Woomera and I’ve never been anywhere DU has been used so I can’t prove it.  I don’t reckon a plasma jet knocks a tank power pack 50m out the back of the tank – I reckon there must be a solid lump to do that.  IMHO.  In fact I didn’t think DU penetrators turned to plasma, the armour they hit might, but I thought that it generated super heated particles (and it is these particles that get spread around).

      Dave S. – The best fire-suppression system that I’m aware of is Halon, which is a CFC. It works by removing the oxygen – stops the fire very effectively, but the crew has to bail out before suffocating.

      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 04 at 09:51 PM • permalink


    1. Just letting you know what I thought of it dic jic.

      Posted by Harold on 2005 08 04 at 10:17 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks for sharing.

      Posted by jic on 2005 08 04 at 10:29 PM • permalink


    1. I wonder how long it will take for this decision to feed into the “US military takeover of Australia via depleted uranium” hysteria?

      Federal Govt takes control of NT uranium

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2005 08 05 at 12:40 AM • permalink


    1. Razor, thinking upon it, I realized that my explanation came from my tour in an tank battalion before DU penetrators were in common use, at least outside the active duty forces.  That (National Guard) tank battalion, which used M60A3s, fired 105mm tungsten KE rounds, which were (I think) designed for use against older Soviet tanks (T64 and earlier). 

      The DU rounds would behave differently from the tungsten version, now that you mention it.  My apologies for any confusion.

      It’s likely that the DU round (being fired from a 120mm gun) has a lot more kinetic energy, and simply has a greater impact (pun not intended).

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 05 at 01:31 AM • permalink


    1. The_Real_Jeffs – cheers – my experience is based on Leopard AS1 with 105mm, too, and I could also be wrong.

      Anyway – hope you retain your boresight.


      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 05 at 02:45 AM • permalink


    1. Razor, while Wikipedia isn’t the final source, you might read this.  DU has a couple other advantages over tungsten, like being pyrophoric.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2005 08 05 at 04:49 AM • permalink


    1. “Many locals living near bombing ranges are very worried – for their health, their fertility and their livelihoods” … and their window panes?

      Posted by egg_ on 2005 08 05 at 09:13 PM • permalink


    1. Thanks for the Reference – note that it is the particles that come off the penetrator that burn – not the solid lump of the penetrator.

      Posted by Razor on 2005 08 07 at 11:54 PM • permalink


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