The 'Mother Of All Bombs'
The "Mother of All Bombs" ... the GBU-43/B Massive Air Blast, is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal, and it was used for the first time in combat on April 13, 2018 in Afghanistan against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
If you’ve never heard of this bomb, you’re likely not alone. To help you get educated about it, here are some facts to know:
It weighs 21,000 pounds!
The MOAB delivers an 18,700-pound warhead known as the BLU-120/B, which is made of H6 – a mixture of cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, TNT and aluminum.
It’s BIG – 30 feet long with a diameter of 40.5 inches, to be exact.
How Does the MOAB Reach Its Target?
The MOAB was loaded into a C-130 Hercules, where it sat in a cradle on an airdrop platform until the whole platform was pulled off the plane at a high altitude by a drogue parachute, which is used to slow it down. Once in the air, the weapon was quickly released from the platform to keep up its forward momentum. The grid fins then opened to stabilize it and guide it to its target.
It’s Got Competition
According to globalsecurity.org, on Sept. 11, 2007, the Russian military announced it had tested the “Father of all Bombs,” the world’s most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered munition. The Russians said it’s four times more powerful than the MOAB, even though it technically has fewer explosives in it (7.8 tons compared to the MOAB’s 8 tons). The FOAB is said to use more efficient explosives, yielding the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT with a blast radius of 300 meters – double that of the MOAB.
Fun Fact: Why Is the MOAB Green?
According to Robert Hammack, the Air Force Research Lab chief behind the bomb’s creation, it’s pretty simple – they were in a hurry.
“Since we were in such a rush to get the weapon into our inventory to send over to aid the war effort, resources were limited. The weekend the MOAB arrived, the only color available in the amount we needed was John Deere green,” he said.