by WorldTribune Staff, April 14, 2017
The Massive Ordnance Air Blast – MOAB – that was dropped by the U.S. on Islamic State (ISIS) targets in Afghanistan on April 13 weighs 21,700 pounds, is GPS-guided and is ideal for destroying cave complexes like those ISIS jihadists hide out in on the Afghan-Pakistan border.
The GBU-43/B MOAB, or “Mother Of All Bombs”, weighs as much as an F-16 fighter jet and is filled with 18,700 pounds of H6 explosive.
The MOAB’s 30-foot-long aluminum casing weighs only 3,000 pounds, which is an unusually low proportion of the bomb’s overall weight.
Unlike many bombs, for which steel shrapnel is a primary effect, the MOAB is designed to generate explosive shockwaves and is stuffed with as much explosive as possible. The bomb kills through overpressure. Waves of pressure entering a cave system cause injuries and fatalities, and the shock can collapse earthen tunnels.
A U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command MC-130 Combat Talon transport aircraft dropped the MOAB out of the cargo ramp on April 13.
The MOAB was first tested in March 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, when it produced a mushroom cloud that could be seen up to 20 miles away.
Developed in-house by the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, the MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat by the United States.
It is not, however, the largest non-nuclear ordnance in the U.S. arsenal.
The GB-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) weighs 30,000 pounds and is designed to penetrate underground concrete structures.