India to buy cluster bomb units in a $257 million deal

India to buy cluster bomb units in a $257 million deal

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has announced the sale of 512 CBU-105 sensor fuzed weapons (SFWs) to India, for an estimated price of $257 million. The DoD made this announcement on Wednesday 8 December. “CBU" stands for a cluster bomb unit.

These SFWs are produced by Textron Systems Corp. According to a statement issued by the company, in addition to the 512 SFWs, the contract provides for 44 training units. India will procure these weapons under the US government’s foreign military sales (FMS) programme, under which weapons are not sold by a process of competitive bidding, as it is a government-to-government deal.

Cluster munitions are banned by the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM), an international treaty that prohibits the use of cluster bombs, which typically scatter "bomblets" or "submunitions" over an area. Both India and the US are however not signatories to the convention. The CCM has been signed and ratified by 46 countries.

"The SFW is not a typical CBU. Unlike a CBU, which has a ’contact fuse,’ and explodes upon any contact, the SFW has a ’sensor fuse,’ which explodes only when it impacts the intended contact," said Stephen Greene, Textron Systems’ VP for Communications. "The SFW uses an algorithm that can identify a target from a non-target," he said.


Textron executive added that the weapons would be delivered in trenches, but could not comment on the exact delivery schedule.