GBU-43, nicknamed as the ‘Mother of All Bombs’, has been dropped by the United States over an ISIS complex in Afghanistan, near the Pakistan border. The bomb was dropped using a Lockheed MC-130 transport plane.
GBU-43 is one of the largest non-nuclear bomb ever used in the battlefield. The bomb has been dropped to destroy a system of tunnels and caves used by the ISIS fighters to move around freely making easier for them to target US military advisers and the Afghan forces. The strike was carried out with MOAB to maximize the destruction suffered by the IS fighters and their facilities as well as to minimize the risk for Afghan and US forces conducting cleaning operations in the area.
Facts about MOAB
The official name used by the US Air Force for GBU-43 is the ‘Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB)’.MOAB weighs 9,797 kgs and is a GPS-guided munition. MOAB is bout 20 feet long and is capable of burrowing through 200 feet of earth and 60 feet of concrete before detonating.According to Pentagon, MOAB is the largest non-nuclear bomb that has ever been used in the combat.
MOAB was first tested in March 2003 at the time of US led invasion of Iraq. The test resulted in a huge mushroom cloud that could be seen as far away from 32 km.
MOAB, however, is not the largest bomb ever made. Russia in 2007 tested ‘Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power’, nicknamed as the “Father of All Bombs”. It is estimated to be 4 times more powerful than MOAB.