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Antipersonnel cluster submunition

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Certain kinds of submunitions dispersed from cluster munitions are intended primarily antipersonnel, or to be dual-purpose, meaning dangerous to people and to lightly armored equipment. The purpose conceived as legitimate for using antipersonnel cluster munitions is to attack a spread-out group of soldiers and lightly protected equipment, as might be found with an infantry unit, at an air defense or artillery position, or a supply dump. If it could be assured that the submunitions could either immediately detonate or render themselves safe, these might be considered militarily appropriate, but there is serious question that the "dud" unexploded but hazardous submunition problem will be completely solved in the near term.

Many nations have, for this reason, taken potential antipersonnel submunitions out of their ammunition stockpiles, and others are seeking treaties to ban them. Even if a completely reliable fail-safe mechanism were demonstrated today, that would not account for weapons already in stockpiles, although some nations are destroying stockpiles. There would be suspicion if they were truly fail-safe.

It is simply not certain, however, if the replacements might have even worse unexpected consequences. To get wide area coverage, a side dropping unitary bombs or firing unitary shells might simply deliver more. Do not assume that unitary munitions always detonate, and, if they do not detonate, are safe.