The US dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan on April 14. The Massive Ordinance Air Blast or popularly known as ‘Mother of All Bombs’ was targetted at caves used by the ISIS militants in the country’s Nangarhar province. The GBU-43 is a 21,000 pound ‘conventional’ bomb, and its sheer power of destruction has earned it the name of ‘Mother of All Bombs’. But did you know Russia has a bigger bomb? Russia has FOAB or Father of All Bombs which is reportedly four times larger in size and impact than the US’ MOAB. But it is not a conventional bomb, instead, it is a thermobaric bomb. The difference that thermobaric bombs have over conventional bombs is that they mix with atmospheric Oxygen so that the blast radius is expanded.
The MOAB of the US was developed at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in the year 2003 by Albert L Weimorts Jr of Air Force Research Laboratory. It is considered to be the deadliest non-nuclear weapon designed. A report by the Eglin Air Force Base said that it left a cloud of smoke which could be seen from 20 miles from the scene of the blast. It was tested just a few days ahead of the US-led Iraq invasion. Meanwhile, FOAB of Russia was developed in the year 2007. It explodes midair as it ignites the fuel-air mixture. It is able to vaporise targets, apart from destroying buildings and clearing aftershocks. It is essentially a smaller nuclear bomb and does not have the radioactive part.
The MOAB bomb drop comes only within 3 months of Donald Trump’s election as the US President. The bomb was dropped in eastern parts of Afghanistan using an MC-130 aircraft. It was operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command. The use of the deadly large-yield satellite-guided air-delivered strike against ISIS militants has raised many eyebrows around the globe and has also brought focus on the bigger bomb (FOAB), which is currently present in Russia.
Meanwhile, the MOAB was first devised with an aim to win a ‘psychological’ war against the Iraqi army by causing a deterrent against the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein. Meanwhile, there are a lot of questions on the Russian FOAB’s size and power. According to media reports, Russian general staff Alexander Rukshin was quoted as saying, “all that is alive merely evaporates.”
Here are some of the differences between FOAB and MOAB: Mass: MOAB-8.2 tonnes | FOAB: 7.1 tonnes, TNT equivalent: MOAB: 11 tons (22,000 pounds) | FOAB: 44 tons (88,000 pounds), Blast radius: MOAB: 150 meters (492 ft) | FOAB: 300 meters (984 ft).