To defeat a Russian invasion of Europe, Britain needs to bring back a controversial weapon: the cluster bomb.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by a British defense thinktank, which finds the British Army so massively outgunned by Russian artillery that it may need to bring back cluster bombs, those bomblet-dispensing munitions that have proven devastating on the battlefield – but have cost many civilians their limbs or their lives.
“The UK must either retain a sufficient stockpile of anti-armor area-effect munitions and enough mass to suppress infantry with high explosive, or must reconsider its commitments to the Oslo Treaty, and procure cluster munitions,” concludes the study by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). Some 120 nations – including Britain – signed or ratified a 2008 international treaty that bans their use and calls for stockpiles to be scrapped. The significant holdouts are Russia – which has used cluster weapons in Syria – and the United States, where the Trump administration has rolled back previous restrictions on older bomblets without adequate self-destruct mechanisms. Older weapons have an estimated dud rate as high as 30 percent, which has left former battlefields such as Vietnam strewn with small, hard-to-see unexploded munitions.