US dropped their ‘largest non-nuclear bomb’ in Afghanistan killing 36 ISIS terrorists. While it surely rocked the fanatics hard, the bomb has also been making waves on the internet due to its jaw-dropping size and specifications.
1. MOAB is an abbreviation for Massive Ordnance Air Blast, not the ‘mother of all bombs’ (although sounds catchier.) While MOAB is being termed as the largest, non-nuclear weapon ever deployed in a war, according to a Fox News column by Kori Schake, a Hoover Institution Research Fellow at Stanford University,
“it releases only one-tenth of one percent of the destruction that (the Hiroshima) bomb did, and with no radiological effects.”
AFP reports that:
“Even the smallest of the US military’s atomic arsenal, the B-61 at its minimum configuration, has an explosive yield roughly 30 times that of the MOAB.”
3. MOAB is more officially known as a GBU-43B and has a yield of 11 tons of explosives. The bomb can be deployed from as high as 20,000 feet, and it hits the ground at supersonic speed.
4. MOAB cost the US military around $16 million per unit, as reported by Heavy.com. And while this was just a single drop, the U.S. military has spent a cumulative of over $314 million on the production of the explosive.
5. The hullabaloo around the bomb might have just begun, but the bomb has been in the US Air Force’s arsenal for more than a decade. It was originally built for the Iraq War, but apparently, Afghanistan was the first country to bear its brunt.
6. The MOAB is aimed to hit soft targets like troop camps, surface facilities, and tunnel entrances. The bomb is dropped from the rear of the aircraft, uses GPS for target guidance, and its precision-guided ‘smart bombing’ technology can hit areas that can withstand regular bombings like bunkers and tunnels.
7. After release, a parachute is deployed to slow it down, so it doesn’t just plant into the ground when pushed out with great speed. The bomb then bursts when about 6 feet (1.8 meters) above the ground. This makes MOAB an ‘air burst’ weapon which increases its destructive range, as opposed to a weapon that impacts on the ground and then explodes.
8. The bomb explodes in the air, creating air pressure that can make tunnels and other structures collapse. It can be used at the start of an offensive to soften up the enemy, weakening both its infrastructure and morale,” reported Foxnews.com.
9. The bomb was deemed legal by the US Pentagon which found that MOAB “could not be called an indiscriminate killer” under the Law of Armed Conflict. This law is usually employed to reduce collateral damage and protect civilians, prisoners of war and the wounded.
10. The Pentagon did say that using the MOAB “… will have a substantial psychological effect on those who witness its use.”
11. A Pentagon spokesman revealed yesterday that the MOAB was dropped from a U.S. MC-130 special operations transport plane, and had been brought to the area ”some time ago” for potential use. The bomb had to be “kicked” out the back of the cargo plane courtesy its colossal size.
12. The MOAB can kill people within a several hundred meters radii and can cause lung damage and other injuries on an even wider area.