Modern Marvels

Season 10 Episode 48

Smart Bombs

Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM Sep 30, 2003 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

Smart Bombs
Precision-guided munitions, smart bombs were the media buzz of the first Gulf War and a major military and political driving force of the second. But their apparent sudden celebrity is deceptive. The history of smart bombs goes back to World War I and includes an ingenious, if eccentric, group of inventions and a cast of characters that boasts a Kennedy and a president of General Motors. Join us for the underground history of smart bombs, and a glimpse into the future of precision weapons.moreless
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Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The average time from choosing and approving smart bomb targets in Desert Storm was 72 hours. By Operation Iraqi Freedom, the average was only a fraction of that, and could be done in as little as 12 minutes.

    • One smart bomb was entirely designed, built and deployed during the 43-day duration of the Gulf War. The laser-guided GBU-28 "bunker buster" had a body improvised from surplus howitzer barrels.

    • During the Vietnam War, the U.S. dropped more than 7 million tons of bombs... fewer than 25,000 tons of which were laser-guided.

    • The first battleship sunk by a guided weapon was the Italian Ship Roma. On September 9th, 1943, as she was attempting to defect to the Allies, the Roma was struck by two Fritz X bombs and blown in half.

  • QUOTES (0)

  • NOTES (1)

    • Dr. Steve Butler
      Dir. of Engineering, Eglin AFB

      Col. Dan Blackwelder
      USAF Fighter Pilot

      Maj. Paul Gillespie, Ph.D.
      USAF Historian/Author

      Lt. Col. Dean Failor
      USAF (Ret.)

      Col. Joseph Davis, Jr.
      USAF (Ret.)

      Weldon Word
      Fmr. Texas Instruments LGB Mgr.

      Kim Michel
      Boeing J-Dam Program Mgr.

      Winslow Wheeler
      Sr. Fellow, Center for Defense Info.

      Marc Garlasco
      Sr. Military Analyst, Human Rights Watch

      Capt. Jason Amerine
      U.S. Army Special Forces

      Hamid Karzai (Archival Footage)

      Carl Conetta
      Dir., Project on Defense Alternatives

      Ben Ford
      Raytheon Business Development Mgr.

      (missed one cast member)

      Executive Producer: Don Cambou
      Writer: Craig Constantine
      Producer: Craig Constantine
      Associate Producer: Mai-Ly Nguyen
      Line Producer: Paul Dzilvelis
      Editor: Mark S. Andrew
      Narrator: Max Raphael
      Music: Alan Ett Music Group
      Producer: Bruce Nash
      Creator: Bruce Nash
      Production Manager: Shelia Collins
      Production Manager: Shelia Collins
      Post Production Manager: Gary Reid
      Clearance Supervisor: Katie Del Core
      Director of Research: Anthony Lacques
      Production Auditor: Dani Eslin
      Production Coordinator: James Wiser
      Assistant Accountant: Dennis Luciani
      Clearance Coordinator: Susan Wichmann
      Assistant Editor: Julio C. Perez IV
      Assistant Editor: Eric Sievering
      Post Coordinator: Danny Kim
      Post Assistant: Laura Steinhoff
      Voice over Coordinator: Melanie Pipes
      Production Assistant: Rosalyn McVay
      Camera: Dale Hancock
      Camera: David Hopper
      Camera: Julio Luzquinos
      Camera: John Twesten
      Camera: Liz Watkins
      Camera: John D. Westenhiser
      Field Audio: Ray Bennett
      Field Audio: Dan Desloge
      Field Audio: Matt Engle
      Field Audio: Derek Johnson
      Field Audio: Jeremy C. Zunk
      Field Producer: Angela Aiello
      Online Editor: Doug Nolan
      Sound Mixer: Paul Ray
      Animation: Victor Bornia
      Historical Consultant: Maj. Paul Gillespie Ph.D.

      Special Thanks:
      Air Force Armament Museum - Eglin, FL
      Andrews Air Force Base
      Center on Defense Information
      Davis-Monthan Air Force Base
      Department of Defense
      Eglin Air Force Base
      James S. Howard
      Lt. Rob Leese
      Ran Raider
      355th Equipment Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight

      Executive Producer: Beth Dietrich-Segarra
      Produced by Actuality Productions, INC


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