The US Air Force has shown off its considerable military might - by using a 900-kilogram laser-guided smart bomb to blow up a dinghy.
In an exercise described by one commentator as "overkill defined", the tiny metal boat was blown to smithereens in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico earlier this month, with the moment of impact captured on camera.
According to Dyess Air Force Base in Texas, which released the images, a B-1B bomber was sent up on September 4 to test how effective the aircraft was when attacking a mobile sea target.
The aircraft released six bombs as part of the test, including a laser-guided GBU-10 bomb. That bomb, which obliterated the boat, costs nearly US$24,000.
The Aviationist website said the small, unmanned boat was similar to one that might be used by pirates, and that "the term 'using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut' springs to mind".
Originally developed during the Cold War, the GBU-10 bomb was not actually used until 1998, during military operations in Iraq.
The stunt sparked a number of jokes on social media:
— Kelsey D Atherton (@AthertonKD) September 17, 2013
Billion dollar airplane drops $100,000 bomb to destroy $100 boat. Yay! Good guys win! (Amazing photo, though.) http://t.co/I2KM6rbQy3
— Stephen Fleming (@StephenFleming) September 17, 2013
- Sydney Morning Herald