Making Dumb Bombs Smart

US bomb bombing afghanistan target bullseye
Behind the talk about regime change in Iraq, the Pentagon has ordered a major increase in weapons production. An Army munitions plant in Oklahoma may look like a throwback to World War II, but, as CBS News National Security Correspondent David Martin reports, before the dumb bombs stored there can see combat, they will be given a brain, fitted with smart bomb kits made at an information age assembly line outside St. Louis.

Before Sept. 11, the plant was turning out 700 kits a month. Since then, production has more than doubled to 1,700 a month. And by this time next year, it will nearly double again to 3,000 a month.

A miniature computer turns dumb bombs into satellite-guided bombs that home in on a specific set of geographic coordinates.

The coordinates tells the bomb where to land, and an antenna takes signals from a satellite, which lets the bomb know where it is and what corrections it has to make to reach its designated target.

About 7,000 satellite-guided bombs have been dropped on targets in Afghanistan, not all with perfect results. Two American soldiers were killed when a pilot punched in the wrong geographic coordinates and dropped a bomb. But the bombs are now the weapon of choice for the looming showdown with Iraq. As weapons go, they're cheap: $20,000 each.

The U.S. didn't have satellite-guided bombs the last time it went to war against Iraq. All it had was laser-guided bombs, which don't work if clouds obscure the target. This time, clouds will not protect Saddam Hussein.