Textron Inc.: Production of Cluster Munitions

Textron Systems, a fully-owned subsidiary of Textron Inc., produces the CBU-97/ CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon cluster munition containing BLU-108 submunitions.[1] The Norwegian Ministry of Finance, Delta Lloyd Asset Management, Danske Bank, and Triodos, among others, have excluded Textron from their investments because of their involvement in the production of cluster munitions.[2]

The CBU-97/CBU-105 Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) carries ten BLU-108 submunitions, each in turn carrying four ‘Skeet’ warheads – meaning a total of 40 target seeking submunitions. The SFW falls under the category of weapons prohibited
by the Convention on Cluster Munitions (Oslo Convention), which defines a ‘cluster munition’ as a ‘conventional munition that is designed to disperse or release explosive submunitions each weighing less than 20 kilograms, and includes those explosive submunitions’.[3]

The USA, who did not participate in the Oslo process prohibiting cluster munitions, now finds that almost all of their alternative cluster munitions (e.g. BLU 108) are illegal. This was heavily criticised by Textron, who strongly tried to
influence the U.S. government to prevent this. Textron even sent a company spokesperson to the Geneva-based UN Meetings (CCW) to persuade the delegates of the UN Convention on Conventional Weapons of the benefits of “alternative US-American cluster munitions” like the SFW. A unique approach in the UN’s history.

The Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) was first used by the U.S. during the war against Iraq in 2003. According to on scene experts, it leaves numerous unexploded duds behind, putting civilians highly at risk. However, Textron claims a reliability rate of over 99 percent. In 2010, Textron exported the Sensor Fuzed Weapon (SFW) to India; In 2011 to Saudi Arabia and to the United Arab Emirates.[4]

[1] http://www.textrondefense.com/products/smart-weapons-air/sfw/index.php

[2] http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/fin/Selected-topics/the-government-pension-fund/responsible-investments/companies-excluded-from-the-investment-u.html?id=447122,

[3] http://www.clusterconvention.org/files/2010/12/CCM-Text1.pdf

[4] SIPRI (2012) – Global transfers of major conventional weapons
sorted by supplier (exporter),
2011, http://www.textrondefense.com/news/press_release_item.php?ReleaseID=1526733