Saturday, April 15, 2017

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb; or Mother of All Bombs

By Jim Emerson

On April 13, 2017, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb known as the Mother of All Bombs or MOAB for short was used for the first time in combat.  The largest non-nuclear weapon in current inventory was used against an ISIS target in a remote part of far northeast Afghanistan. The target in question was reportedly an ISIS complex of tunnels, caves and a camp where personnel were assembling.  

The MOAB is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) precision guided bomb, developed for the United States Air Force by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory. At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed. The bomb was designed to be delivered by either the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.

The GBU-43/B is a 30-foot-long bomb that weighs 22,600 pounds, including 18,700 pounds of Composition H6 explosive with a blast yield of 11 tons of TNT.  The bomb is an air burst weapon 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.
One Big Mother

Afghanistan's ambassador to the US, Hamdullah Mohib told reporters that the Bomb was used after fighting had intensified over the last week between US Special Forces and Afghan troops against ISIS. ISIS had mined the area with IEDs and the MOAB was used to clear out the mines and destroy the tunnels being used by the terrorists.

President Trump is allowing the warriors to fight the war. The President provided military commanders broader latitude to act independently on several battlefields where US forces are involved. This is a break from the previous administration which insisted on micro-management. It means, quite simply, that the White House will no longer be dictating day to day military strategy to America’s warfighters. President Trump said the decision makes a "tremendous difference" in the fight against ISIS.

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