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Aircraft History of the MK-84 Bomb

MK-84 Bomb

Known as the “Hammer” for its strong power, the MK 84 is a general-purpose bomb used by the United States military.

Designed as a free-fall, non-guided general-purpose bomb, the MK 84 is the largest bomb within the Mark 80 series of bombs. Due to the fact that these bombs are non-guided they are often referred to as “dumb bombs.” Dumb bombs are dropped from an aircraft and they land wherever gravity takes them. Since they are non-guided, most dumb bombs like the MK 84 are designed to be aerodynamically streamlined. The case of a MK 84 is built to be relatively light with approximately 45 percent of its complete weight being explosive. With a weight of up to 2,000 lbs, 945 lbs of the MK 84’s total weight is made of Tritonal high explosive. Depending on the altitude from which the MK 84 is dropped, the bomb can create a crater 50 ft wide and 36 ft deep as well as being able to penetrate up to 15 inches of metal or 11 ft of concrete. The MK 84 is capable of causing lethal fragmentation to a radius of 400 yards. Over the years many MK 84s have been retrofitted with stabilizing fins as well as retarding devices in an attempt to provide more precision guidance capabilities. Such modifications allow the MK 84 to provide a high speed, low altitude delivery capability by quickly slowing the bomb and allowing the aircraft to escape the blast pattern.

The MK 84 was used extensively in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm. During Operation Desert Storm the MK-80 series of bombs were dropped from literally every aircraft that could be used on the ground offensive. The bombs were deployed against a wide variety of targets, including artillery, trucks, bunkers, Scuds, surface-to-air missile sites, antiaircraft artillery sites, early warning radars, and supply points. Almost all of the 12,000 MK-84s expended during Desert Storm were dropped by Air Force F-15Es, F-16s and F-111Fs while less than 1,000 of the total were dropped by Marine Corps tactical aircraft.

While the MK 84 may be classified as a dumb bomb, it can definitely drop the hammer on any target you’re aiming for.