Introduced in March of 1970 as a field expedient method for carving out helicopter landing zones in the jungles of Vietnam (known as Commando vault airlift operations), the 15,000-pound BLU-82B, more popularly known as the "Daisy Cutter", is arguably the world's largest non-nuclear conventional airdropped munition. The BLU-82 is filled with 12,600 pounds of GSX explosive slurry and when detonated creates a blast wave of over 1,000 lbs. per square inch, which is sufficient to shear an 8" diameter tree off at its base and clear an area approxiamately 260 feet in diameter.
The BLU-82 is equipped with a 38" stand-off detonator fuse, which facilitates in the formation of the blast wave and can only be delivered by Special Operations MC-130 Combat Talon cargo aircraft. Because the BLU-82 must be dropped from at least 6,000 feet AGL (to avoid collateral damage to the dropping aircraft) and the aircraft itself is not equipped with an offensive air-ground radar system, accurate delivery of the weapon is dependent upon precise aircraft alignment (this can be achieved through either internal, on board navigational and positioning equipment or through steering cues provided by either ground or aerial radar control stations) and strict adherence to the bomb run profile.
Because of its blast potential, the Commando Vault is extremely effective in urban or built up areas as well as collapsing defensive fortifications and bunker complexes. The BLU-82 is also of limited effectiveness as a minefield clearing munition.
The BLU-82 is essentially a large, explosive filled cylinder. The cylinder is olive drab in color, 4.5 feet in diameter, approximately 12 feet long, and equipped with a conical aerodynamic nose cone and tipped with a 38-inch standoff detonator. The bomb itself is unguided and utilizes a drogue parachute to both orient the weapon "nose first" and to control its rate of descent. Prior to deployment the BLU-82 is mounted on a sled-like loading/delivery pallet.
To launch the bomb, a cargo extraction parachute is deployed which, in turn, pulls the palletized bomb out of the aircraft. Once the bomb has left the aircraft a static line automatically deploys the bomb stabilization chute. The cargo extraction chute and delivery cradle are both discarded once the bomb stabilization chute deploys.