Aviation Week & Space Technology

How Does The ‘Mother Of All Bombs’ Stack Up?

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on Apr 16, 2017

"So why did U.S. Central Command choose now to deploy the MOAB?"
- AW&ST

Trump likes applause. He really enjoyed the applause he received for the airfield strike. Do things which get applause for him and he likes you. A big boom gets applause. And it has.

Keep him happy and hopefully he will let you do what you need to do.

Just keep a stream of applause winning events he may claim credit for.

What to do next to keep him happy?

How to deal with Reality and a Reality TV Star at the same time?

on Apr 18, 2017

You nailed it...ratings and applause. Only favorable news, data perceived as real (all other "fake").

English monarchs once appointed "His Majesty's Loyal Objector" for the express purpose of hearing dissent to whatever the king or queen wanted to do. It served to balance the many sycophant types surrounding them. Any powerful leader is well served to hear both sides. Of course some don't take kindly to views other than their own.

on Apr 18, 2017

Mark - we readers here at AWST know well that you are the "MCPB", that is, the "Massively Cynical Political Bombast" here on the comment pages, so you are living up to hype here.

Not everything our military commanders do is driven by Trumpian politics. They actually have a job to do, and they actually do it.

on Apr 18, 2017

Really /
Is that why the USS Vinson was reported to be heading to Korean waters last week when it was going the other way, towards the Indian Ocean. The politics didnt fit the deployment schedule so fake news did the trick.

on Apr 18, 2017

Mark; Get over it.

on Apr 18, 2017

Do you ever stop long enough to think that maybe the guy who won wants to send a message to Iran & North Korea?
You may not like him but unlike his predecessor he is taking action.

on Apr 20, 2017

2381942, your idea of "taking action" is a reflection of depravity. Can't you think of other ways to "send a message"? At least in hind sight now, wouldn't you say that the illegal attack on Al Quada in Afghanistan 16 years ago and the so-called "war on terror" was an utterly stupid idea, pushed by cretins who have no respect for human life and no understanding of the consequences of military action? Where have all these bomb messages and drone messages and US troop deployments and civilian killings led to? I'll tell you, a heinous and counterproductive use of power from the military/industrial/government a$$holes, who focus on where military action indeed does lead to : swelling pockets of the elite currently in charge. I traveled in the region where they dropped the MOAB, the name being an insult to mothers everywhere, including our own Mother Earth. I assure you that there are people living all over those hills and mountains, with a long history. The region was first set up by the previous Evil Empire (Britain), as the Frontier Region, where lawless areas allowed the Brits to kill with impunity - a way to dominate Afghanistan (ancient Bactria, Kushan, Seleucide, Hellenic, Persian, etc.). It's much the same now, where the present Evil Empire snotheads can Sh*t where ever they want, with ordinance, and impunity. Weaklings like you have no idea that their pants are down, shamelessly, that the emperor has no clothes. With all this escalation, violation of International Law, and civilian deaths and refugee camps and border flooding, can't you put two brain cells together and conclude that the military approach is not working? At least if the goal is to do the right thing, by way of other people, whom you would like to treat you in the same way, should the tables be reversed, no? Any decent historian will tell you that yes indeed, the tables will reverse. And this Evil Empire is supposed to be a "Christian Country"? Barf Barf. if you can't see it, you have no respect for human beings, no respect for yourself, as you bed yourself in a cesspool with a childish mentality of how the world works.

on Apr 18, 2017
on Apr 20, 2017

Mr. Lincoln,
Accurately put. If this was purely a military decision (I don't believe it was) then perhaps it was a desire to actually use the MOAB to see what it could do in an operational environment. Pointless and a waste of money...unless, of course, it was an older model and a newer model could be bought...like the block IV Tomahawks for the Navy.

on Apr 18, 2017

I wonder if there's any chance Trump might approve the use of a small tactical nuclear device for use against ISIS or the Taliban.

on Apr 18, 2017

No. The only way a western (NATO) country will use nuclear, is in response to a nuclear attack.

on Apr 18, 2017

No. "The only way a western (NATO) country will use nuclear, is in response to a nuclear attack"

.........you hope
I would not put anything of the table with this administration

on Apr 18, 2017

Not this adminonly.... Remember GW admin speaking about small nukes? Remember western (non-NATO) Israel bringing it up any time things went southwards?
Hey, did the US use the threat (which is the same as actual use) during the Cold War? Macarthur?

on Apr 18, 2017

Everyone knows you need a Democrat in office to get a good world war going.

on Apr 20, 2017

I think you will find most modern wars are started by Republican administrations: Spanish-American War, Vietnam War (Eisenhower and enlarged by Nixon), Iraq I & 2, Afghanistan. If you want to stretch a point you could even point to Lincoln since he was the first Republican president and it was his election that precipitated secession.

on Apr 22, 2017

'Vietnam War (Eisenhower and enlarged by Nixon)'

You should not have included this one as your bias is revealed.

Eisenhower had little involvement (900 advisors), Kennedy escalated (16000 troops), Johnson dramatically escalated (3500 marines begin US involvement in ground war, 548,000 on the ground and 30,000 dead by end of term, a million tons of bombs openly on the North, secretly on Laos and Cambodia to counter Khmer Rouge alignment with the North), Nixon ended it (openly bombed Laos and Cambodia operating as staging areas for the North while removing US troops from forward areas, drawing down ground troops to 200,000 by 1971 and zero by 1973).

on Apr 18, 2017

One wonders how anyone would (or could) respond to a preemptive nuclear attack?

on Apr 18, 2017

Why not a city-buster?
Targets are plentiful,
Mecca and Teheran, for example.

on Apr 18, 2017

The GBU-43 makes a Big Bang. It gets headlines. A gigantic exploding phallic symbol for guys with small hands to show off in public. It even has a catchy made for TV name.

It has significant concussive effects and makes lots of smoke. We have had it for years and have finally found a target for it. The American TV audience.

But! Horror! The Russian have a bigger boom! The Russians just found a target for their bigger boom. Credulous Russian citizens who are worried America has a bigger boom than they do. The Russians hit the airwaves with pictures of their "Thermobaric Bomb"! It makes a bigger boom than the American Daughter of All Bombs.

Bring back the T-12 so America may have the largest boom on TV. Bring back the B-36 to drop it.

Mr. President, we cannot allow a Big Boom Gap!

on Apr 18, 2017

This is FoxPorn! LOL

on Apr 18, 2017

Hi Mark. It is easy to blame the guy at the top because that is where the buck stops as president Truman use to say. President Trump is a colorful and very contentious person that the Democrats have been trying to destroy long before he ran for office. I do not agree with a lot he has done or is working on, but he did not create the bomb or cause 9/11 to happen. One can easily say that the United States should not be a police force, but the reality there is that without us the dictators of the world would commit their carnage nearly unopposed. The United States has a huge following that is looking for peace and an opposition that is looking for any opportunity to destabilize the rest of the world. North Korea lets their population starve to death in the streets while preparing for Armageddon, and religious zealots cut off heads, and murder millions in the Middle East.

William Tecumseh Sherman stated that war is hell and he certainly knew what it was. Is the bomb a useful tool in the effort to stop Tyranny and oppression? We used another bomb to end WW2. Why is it that the threat of a nightmare come to life is the only thing that compels the process of peace only to be followed by another generation that needs reinforcement. We cannot continue to bleed money to preserve the peace. This is a hell of a way to end the bloodshed, but what other way is there? Can we just turn our backs and ignore pending disasters like climate change and the destruction of our ecosystem? Trump isn’t helping there, but the opposing party’s actions are no more than a band-aid. Without world unity we will probably not be able to save ourselves. So can we end the war with a few bombs?

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”

on Apr 18, 2017

A nice assay. some reality check, though:
1) "One can easily say that the United States should not be a police force, but the reality there is that without us the dictators of the world would commit their carnage nearly unopposed"
Yes. Now, they commit these carnages wit your help and you call it "realpolitik" by Kissinger. Or, better still, you do it yourselves, instead f them. But the best is about the carnages that are commited by non-dictators. are these OK Or they are blamable only if commited by Japs (your WWII enemy which was not a dictatorship and you smeared them by calling them "militaristic" while segragating your own troops and itizens due to teir skin color? Nice democracy!)?
2) Climate change happens throughout the life of the planet. Our presence is very recent and our science very primitive to support other conclusions. Climate change is reigin, expanding an observablefact into cosmic dimensions.
3. North Korea lets their population starve., to build missiles. For their defense, so you might think it twice to liberate them from their dictators. What is your excuse for letting your poor die from lack od healthcare to make nuclear bombs in order to enforce a rule making your rich even richer?????
4. You bleed money to make wars, not topreserve the peace. Bombing for peace is something neither Lenin nor Gaebells would have dared claim.

on Apr 18, 2017

War is a terrible thing. It should not be used for anything except all out war. Sending our young people into these questionable ventures to be killed or injured is not justifiable.

on Apr 18, 2017

“To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.”

A fitting quote for a global warming doomsday cultist. Repent, Sinner, for the end is nigh!

on Apr 28, 2017

Yes, we must definitely stop dictators from commiting their small-scale carnage and send our armed forces to commit our brand of mega-scale carnage. Saddam Hussei's chemical attack in Halabja killed between 3200 -5000 Iraqis. Our "shock-and-awe" warfare caused over 600,000 Iraqi dead?

How many hundreds of thousands have we killed in Afghanistan? Surely more than Al-Qaeda and the Taliban combined.

As for the MOAB - it may have killed a few goats and sheperds. Where are the photos showing the glorious results? It was strictly a PR stunt by our stunted, gong-show, carny-barker president.

on Apr 18, 2017

But then how will we buy more welfare votes? $22TT in the War on Poverty to end up, um, right where we started.

on May 22, 2017

The "war on poverty" has been great for keeping all those case workers, counselors, police, doctors, teachers, etc. employed and out of poverty.

on Apr 18, 2017

Why don't you guys get together with Hillary and go sing kum ba yah with isis, that would go a long ways towards making America great again. Don't draw any red lines in the sand though, might hurt someone's feelings.

on Apr 18, 2017

Can you immature, wining guys stick to things aeronautical.

Use your twitter thing for Bovine Fertilizer distribution. Please !!

on Apr 18, 2017

Is the MOAB a guided bomb ?

on Apr 18, 2017

Yes, guided by GPS.

on Apr 18, 2017

Now that footage of the MOAB strike has been released, you can definitely see why it was chosen. The target zone was a smallish, bowl-shaped valley with lots of caves and tunnels. When the bomb detonated, all of its explosive power was directed into the bowl of the valley, where it looked like it just flattened all of the geologic structures. If this area has been a Taliban/AQ/ISIS zone since 2001, it wouldn't surprise me to hear that the GBU-43 was designed with this target in mind.

on Apr 18, 2017

The design of the MOAB is, as its name suggests, "massive ordinance air blast". It is useful to take out large area non-hardened targets, as in this tunnel complex in Afghanistan.

We have larger conventional bombs, in terms of weight, anyway (30,000 pounds), that are penetrators designed to take out hardened point targets, like bunkers. Such a weapon wouldn't work for this target.

on Apr 18, 2017

The media has been going through massive orgasms of commentary over the "meaning of MOAB", it's all quite silly.

The meaning of MOAB in this particular instance was the request by field commanders to bomb the hell out of an underground tunnel complex that the bad guys had been using to stage attacks on nearby Afghan people. So we dropped a bomb that did just that - it collapsed the tunnels, kills 94 bad guys, and now they won't be able to use that tunnel complex any more.

There is no more meaning to MOAB than that.

on Apr 18, 2017

Well said. And those of you who are not whining are also correct; given the terrain and objective, this is the correct tool for the mission.

on Apr 18, 2017

Which begs the question: why was not used for the last 15 years there? All these years the field commanders had no such wish or need?

on Apr 19, 2017

Well, circumstances change. We used to have nearly 100,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan during Obama's "surge", so maybe it wasn't needed then. Maybe it wasn't actually deployed in theater until recently. And this is not a weapon you can use indiscriminately - it was said that this bomb rattled windows tens of miles away from the target, and obviously this weapon cannot be used in areas with potential collateral damage concerns.

Only the commanders in theater and on the ground can know the circumstances that provided this use at this time.

on Apr 18, 2017

It is time we used what we have to show ISIS that we are serious about wiping them off the face of earth. I hope these stupid idiots get the message and if they don't I hope we continue to decimate them.

on Apr 19, 2017

I find it interesting that if you replace the word "ISIS" in your post with "the infidels", it sounds like an jihadist mantra...

Maybe we should take care not to become that which we fight...

on Apr 18, 2017

" The target zone was a smallish, bowl-shaped valley with lots of caves and tunnels. When the bomb detonated, all of its explosive power was directed into the bowl of the valley, where it looked like it just flattened all of the geologic structures."

It's difficult (for me, at least) to understand how an air blast bomb this big, which would flatten anything above ground and affect anything in a tunnel opening onto the bowl which didn't have a good, closed blast door, could have destroyed geologic structures. That would be an exercise for a penetration "earthquake" weapon.
So, I'd like to know how MOAB and the bigger penetration bomb stack up against the "Tallboy" and other big bombs used in WWII.

on Apr 18, 2017

I'm no geologist, but it would stand to reason that a stratum that lends itself to tunneling through relatively primitive methods (I don't imagine that they've got much in the way of heavy tunneling machinery) would likely compress and fracture enough to render those tunnels uninhabitable under the shockwave of 18K lbs of high explosive going off at once.

on Apr 18, 2017

Tough way to die...but few people more deserving.

on Apr 19, 2017

I think the desired effect in that situation is not to collapse or destroy the tunnels but to suck all the air out of them which kills everyone inside.

on Apr 21, 2017

Tony, I've got the same question. Since when is a tunnel complex even remotely a soft target? The penetrator bomb could at least reached bedrock and done some major geologic shifting and, perhaps, cave-ins. A surface blast such as achieved here, would be about as useful against tunnels as was all our bombing strikes against Cu Chi. There, we accomplished nothing except blowing up a bunch of vegetation.

on Apr 18, 2017

Is the MOAB a fuel-air explosive? If not, does anyone know the reason that a large fuel-air explosive (thermobaric weapon), which supposedly has a very high blast wave force, is not used instead of this MOAB?

on Apr 18, 2017

No, it uses 18,700 pounds of H6 explosive, a combination of RDX explosive made of cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, conventional TNT explosive used in commercial dynamite and aluminum powder. H6 is used for the concussive force it creates.

on Apr 18, 2017

FAE does not work like that. It disperses the fuel into the air and makes bilions of little explosions instead of a gigantic one.outside of the fuel dispersion area the blast is hardly felt, but within the dispersion area, there is very high temperature too, which is not the ca with blast weapons where blast may work in areas where temperature remains practically stable

on Apr 18, 2017

FWIW, An artillery shell that leaves a crater in an open field is destroying "geologic structures." Any explosion working below ground level is. Happens in mines every day.

on Apr 18, 2017

The 22000 lb Grand Slam bomb was designed by Barnes Wallis following the success of the 12000 lb Tall Boy earthquake bomb and used by the RAF in 1944 and1945. Tall Boys dropped by Lancasters sank the Tirpitz.

on Apr 18, 2017

One of the interesting phenomena that happens in tunnels when an explosive device is detonated and a pressure wave generated is that the air in soft rock (and coal mine!) tunnels catches fire due to the compression of ignitable small fragments present. Yet another way to delete Taliban.

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