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'Mother of All Bombs', US' Most Powerful Non-Nuclear Bomb Drops in Afghanistan

Apr 15, 2017 11:12 PM EDT
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U.S. Forces in Afghanistan just recently dropped their most powerful non-nuclear bomb in a remote province in the Eastern part of Afghanistan.

Dubbed as "Mother of All Bombs," the 30-foot-long, 21,600-pound GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) was dropped in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province. The non-nuclear bomb is intended to destroy a complex cave and tunnel system that are allegedly being used by the Islamic State (ISIS) forces.

"The United States takes the fight against ISIS very seriously and in order to defeat the group we must deny them operational space, which we did," said White House press secretary Sean Spicer, as per CNN. The strike "targeted a system of tunnels and cave that ISIS fighters use to move around freely."

The MOAB bomb is the most powerful bomb use in actual combat since the atomic bomb that laid waste on Nagasaki, Japan at the end of World War II. This is the first time that the MOAB bomb was used outside of test environment. It was dropped by an MC-130 aircraft operated by Air Force Special Command.

The MOAB is not the only powerful non-nuclear bomb at the army's disposal. At 30,000-pound, the so-called "GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator" is undeniably heavier than the GBU-43/B. While it was never used in actual battle, the GBU-57 was designed to destroy heavily fortified bunker complexes. On the other hand, the MOAB, despite being lighter, has a bigger punch and explosive power.

According to the report from Los Angeles Times, the use of the MOAB is more of an intimidating tactic or a direct show of power. During the final stages of testing in 2013, military officials considered the weapon to be useful in "psychological operations."

Exploding right before hitting the ground, the MOAB can project massive blasts to all side. During its test at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, MOAB was able to produce a mushroom cloud visible from 20 miles away.

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