Although made differently than in the past, napalm is still used by the U.S. military for combat operations.
Modern napalm is known as "Napalm B." It is distinctly different than the napalm used in past conflict such as Vietnam and World War II. Napalm B is made of different chemicals than the napalm of the past. However, despite its different characteristics, Napalm B is often referred to by military personnel simply as "napalm."
Napalm B is usually comprised of "plastic polystyrene" and "hydrocarbon benzene." These compounds combine to form jellied gasoline, which is extremely flammable and hot when ignited. Napalm B is much easier to control and manage when ignited than previous forms of napalm – which was so flammable that it often caught on fire when soldiers smoked cigarettes near it. Napalm B is sometimes called "Super Napalm" as it burns much longer than older versions of the agent. Napalm B can burn for as long as 10 minutes. Older versions of napalm often burned for less than 30 seconds.
Napalm B is known as an "incendiary weapon" as it can cause fire, explosions and severe burns. It can also lead to asphyxiation in people who are close to the detonation point, as well as winds that have reached 70 miles per hour. Napalm is unique in that it often sticks to the skin of people and is hard to remove even when it is burning.
Napalm B is typically used to destroy enemy positions such as bunkers, foxholes, trenches and shelters. One discharge of Napalm B from a low level military plane can destroy an area of 2,500 square yards. International law does not prevent the use of napalm against military targets.