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'Smart' Bombs

January 19, 1991

The world got its first stunning glimpse Friday of laser-guided "smart" bombs that zoomed through the doors of Iraqi bunkers and blew open the multistory military command center, shown above.

Videotape of the new U.S. military technology included footage over Baghdad from cameras mounted in radar-evading Air Force F-117 Stealth fighters.

In one astonishing sequence, a smart bomb followed its laser path to the roof of a modern, medium-rise building identified as the Iraqi air force headquarters.

Smart bombs are aerodynamically designed 2,000-pound bombs bearing miniature computers and television cameras that guide them to their targets with great accuracy. Laser-guided bombs were first used successfully in the U.S. raid on Libya.

A TV guidance pod bolted to the nose makes a bomb "smart," and adding the rocket motor to the tail turns it into a missile.

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