Non-Nuclear Bombs - Powerful Blasts Without The Environmental Damage

The GBU-43/B Massive Air Blast, nicknamed the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB), a powerful U.S. non-nuclear weapon, made headlines recently when on April 13, 2017 it was dropped for the first time in Afghanistan against the Islamic State (ISIS). The bomb was first available for The Global War on Terror on April 1, 2003 created as a deterrent to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

An in-house Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate project, the bomb was designed, built, tested, and modified in one location with staff working two 10-hour shifts per day until the project was completed. The MOAB was originally designed to replace the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. Once assembled, it was transported to the Naval Ammunition Depot at McAllister, Oklahoma where it was loaded with explosive materials, painted, and catalogued for inventory.

The MOAB’s colour is green and Robert Hammack, project team chief, explained that: “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 colour available in the amount we needed was John Deere green.”

March 11, 2003 saw MOAB’s final day of testing when from 20 miles away, a huge mushroom cloud could be seen. Only one other bomb can be compared to the MOAB and that is Russia’s Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power, known as the Father of All Bombs (FOAB), tested in 2007. Thermobaric bombs are fuel-air bombs whereby a small blast releases a cloud of explosive material which mixes with atmospheric oxygen that when ignited creates a powerful, high-temperature blast.




Written by Sylvia Caravotas (Satovarac Consulting) for OIDA

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