What are Cluster Bombs?

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Recently, the decision by the United States to supply Ukraine with cluster bombs has caused concern among key US allies.

About Cluster bombs:


  • A cluster bomb is a type of weapon that is designed to disperse smaller bombs over a large area.
  • They are also known as cluster munitions, with the smaller bombs referred to as submunitions or bomblets.
  • They can be dropped from air or fired from ground/sea, dispersing dozens or hundreds of bomblets across a large area.
  • These explosions pose a grave threat to anyone in the vicinity, causing death or severe injuries. 
  • Some bomblets fail to detonate immediately, leaving behind unexploded ordnance that can harm or kill people for years to come
  • The use of cluster bombs has been widely condemned internationally.
  • Over 100 countries have ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions.


Key Facts about Convention on Cluster Munitions

  • It was adopted in Dublin on 30 May 2008 and opened for signature in Oslo on 3 December the same year. 
  • It prohibits all use, stockpiling, production and transfer of cluster munitions.
  • Separate articles in the Convention concern destruction of stockpiles, clearance of contaminated areas, assistance to victims, submission of transparency reports, and adoption of domestic legislation.
  • The Convention became binding international law when it entered into force on 1 August 2010.
  • Till date a total of 123 States have joined the Convention – 111 States Parties and 12 Signatories.
  • India is not a signatory to this convention.


Q1) What are Cluster munitions?

Cluster munitions are weapons that are designed to disperse multiple smaller explosive submunitions over a wide area. They are often delivered from aircraft or artillery and can be deployed from the ground, air, or sea. Cluster munitions consist of a main container or dispenser that releases the submunitions, which are small explosive devices, often referred to as bomblets or submunitions.

Source: What are cluster bombs, US sending to Ukraine and why over 100 countries have banned it? Explained