Aviation Week & Space Technology

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

Discuss this Gallery 70

on Apr 18, 2017

I wish my truck had half as nice of a paint job as that MOAB. Jeeze, you think they would have saved a few bucks and just given it the Maco Special or something. After all, it just sits around in a hangar waiting to be hauled out and exploded at some point in time. I bet that paint cost well over $20k. Probably 3x that in reality. It is an awesome bomb though. I'd like to see a few more dropped over there.

on Apr 19, 2017

Just like a restaurant...When you serve it up, Presentation, presentation, presentation.

Wouldn't want it to look like Granny just whipped up a mess of squirrels.

on Apr 19, 2017

People seem to have forgotten the RAF's 22,000lb Grand Slam bomb of WW2 and its predecessor, the 12,000lb Tallboy bomb both invented and designed by Barnes Wallis who designed the bomb used by 617 Dambusters Squadron RAF, to destroy the Sorpe and Mohne dams and damage the Eder dam in the Ruhr on 16 / 17 May 1943.

on Apr 19, 2017

It seems like the actual accolade was that the GBU-43 was the largest *smart bomb* ever deployed in combat, but the qualifier about guidance is what was overlooked or just not understood in the media hysteria about its employment. Add in the phrase "non-nuclear" and the story gets even more panicky, because I swear some people thought it was a small atom bomb.

on Apr 19, 2017

I'm not a fan of president Trump, to put it mildly. I liked Obama, but I've never understood why he said that Assad had crossed a red line when the Syrian Air Force committed a chemical attack, but did nothing back.The Trump government did something back by destroying the airbase from which the last chemical attack was launched. It was a pure military target and the US used precision weapons: cruise missiles. Within a few days the American foreign minister visited Moscow and made some arrangements with the Russians. The MOAB (also a guided bomb) was used against IS, as we all know, the political manisfestation of pure evil. As far as I am concerned, the USA did the right thing: a combination of a quick and intelligent military reaction, while also working on diplomatic solutions. If the world needs a police force, which the UN should provide, but is not capable of, a democratic country like the USA is the best country to fulfill that job.

on Apr 19, 2017

I seem to recall that 'Grand slam' bombs from the closing months of WWII weighed in at around the same weight; though I imagine that explosives are more powerful nowadays.

on Apr 19, 2017

Answer: It was a PR Stunt.

Navy: Tomahawks, yay!
USAF: Mother Boom, wow!
Army: Beetle Crunching, sos! (Same Ole Stuff)

on Apr 19, 2017

Tough way to die...but few people more deserving. LOL I agree. Use whatever it takes to kill 'em.

Overall, much ado about nothing... no thanks to the news hungry media who must make stories up whooo whooo big bomb! So what? Sometimes a big bomb is needed to kill ISIS, sometimes small bombs...

on Apr 20, 2017

Actual data on the effectiveness of the GBU-43 in Afghanistan is scant. The 94 killed figure comes from an Afghan regional council member while another member thinks effectiveness was limited by terrain. Civilian casualties were also reported by an Afghan official while none were harmed according to US sources.

Afghan army units trying to enter the target area immediately after the blast encountered resistance. Apparently Daesh (ISIS) combatants were not impressed to the point of death or being disabled.

Afghan newspapers report that "only U.S Forces are allowed in to Assadkhil village in Mohmand Dara." This includes Afghan army units. Tolo News reports: "Eastern Nangarhar police department meanwhile refused to comment on why the area has not been cleared of Daesh and why the security forces have been barred from entering the village."

Ariana News reports: "A team from Ariana News quotes military officials in the scene that MOAB has actually dropped in a remote village named Mommand Dara of ISIS controlled Achin district.

However, the officials told Ariana News that MOAB has actually targeted a number of tunnels being used by ISIS fighters.

ources has told Ariana News that only in three targeted tunnels an estimated 100 ISIS fighters dead bodies have been found.

The military officials meanwhile confess that U.S. did not target main ISIS sanctuaries; adding that the insurgents’ main strongholds are far away of the attack areas.

“They just tested their missile. The main sanctuaries of ISIS didn’t destroyed,” said a soldier."

1News supplies a detailed list of 13 by name, affiliation and nationality, of important militants killed.

Karzai is outraged. So what's new about that?

American propaganda we know. ISIS propaganda via their radio station which claims little damage with eager fighters bragging about surviving.

It took 14 years before we used the MOAB. We have 14 left. It will be informative if we use it again soon - or not.

The US version of the British Grand Slam was the T-14 (M110). The twice as large T-12 (44,000 lbs) was never used.

US use of extremely large bombs since WW II has been limited.

The first very large American guided bomb was the Bell VB-13 Tarzon (aka ASM-A-1) was a T-10 (M121) with annular wing and radio command guidance. Limited success and the destruction of two B-29s by "safe" Tarzons led to program termination.

Tailless T-10s (aka BLU-82) were dropped via C-130s to clear LZs in Vietnam.

With the exception of certain targets where penetrating "earthquake" bombs were needed the giant bomb has not proven very useful. The area of concussion goes up much less than the increase of explosive power. Which is to say an equivalent weight in smaller bombs will deliver killing effects over a larger area.

Which is why Arc Light was performed by B-52Ds instead of BLU-82 toting C-130s.

on Apr 20, 2017

The bomb in Afghanistan was dropped from a C-130. How long would a C-130 last over North Korea?

on Apr 20, 2017

The enemy is dug in with a tunnel system of armed bunkers and supply rooms. Best way to deal with that? A high pressure bomb that will wipe out all bunkers and collapse the tunnels. What is so hard to understand?

on Apr 21, 2017

"- it collapsed the tunnels, kills 94 bad guys, and now they won't be able to use that tunnel complex any more."
- DTRT

Did it collapse the tunnels? If so how did they get that body count so fast without sending in considerable excavating equipment? It is clear that access was quick after the event and recovered information significant.

Consider items from the Afghan press over the last week.

Six days ago Ariana News reported: “However, the officials told Ariana News that MOAB has actually targeted a number of tunnels being used by ISIS fighters.
Sources has told Ariana News that only in three targeted tunnels an estimated 100 ISIS fighters dead bodies have been found.
The military officials meanwhile confess that U.S. did not target main ISIS sanctuaries; adding that the insurgents’ main strongholds are far away of the attack areas.
“They just tested their missile. The main sanctuaries of ISIS didn’t destroyed,” said a soldier.”
- Ariana News

ariananews.af/moab-reportedly-did-not-target-isis-cave-complexes/

Four days ago 1TV News posted: “Pakistani nationals constitute majority of deaths caused by Thursday's 'mother of all bombs' strike carried out by the United States in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province, a security source told 1TV Tuesday.
The dead included also Indian, Tajik and Afghan nationals, according to the source.
Thirteen senior commanders were among 96 IS militants were killed in the strike in Achin district, that targeted IS top hotbed in the region, the source added.
The commanders were identified as below:
Shahid Omar Afridi, the group’s top commander and former member of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
Walkan, brother of Hafiz Saeed, head of IS in Afghanistan, who was killed in U.S. drone strike last year
Mumtaz, reitered army officer of Pakistan
Abubakr, head of operation unit of IS Pakistan
Sheikh Waqas, former member of Lashkar-e-Taeba Pakistan
Mohammad, national of India
Ala Gita, national of India
Yasir, main commander of IS
Imran, who originated from Orakzay Agency of Pakistan
Aftab Punjabi, who belongs to Punjab of Pakistan
Hamza Orakzai, who belongs to Orakzay Agency of Pakistan
Hamid Kunari, national of Afghanistan
Sad Kunari, national of Afghanistan
The raid marked first time U.S. used its largest non-nuclear bomb in combat as it aims to eliminate IS in Afghanistan.
It is said that the attack also killed a Tajik militant commander, identified as Seddiq Tajiki, along with his 13 co-nationals.
According to the source, the IS caves complex also managed the group’s activities abroad.
It also had contact with an IS stronghold in northeastern Badakhshan province, which fights under the flag of the Taliban.”
- 1 News

1tvnews.af/en/news/afghanistan/28957-majority-of-is-deaths-in-mother-of-all-bombs-strike-belong-to-pakistan--source

And Today Tolo News reports: “Finally, a week after U.S Forces dropped a MOAB bomb on Achin in Nangarhar, Afghan Special Forces were allowed to enter the blast site. 
Afghan Special Forces said they have started operations to clear Daesh militants out of tunnels in the area and the results of their operation will be shared with the public soon.
Meanwhile, Karim Amini, TOLOnews journalist, who accompanied Special Forces to the scene described scenes of destruction and scorched earth. 
He was also able to access a tunnel used by Daesh fighters.“
- Tolo News

tolonews.com/afghanistan/provincial/afghan-special-forces-finally-get-scene-moab-bombing

I think there is considerable reason to believe the tunnels were not destroyed and that the MOAB was selected instead of a MOP exactly because it would not destroy the tunnels, probably to maximize intelligence recovery.

on Apr 22, 2017

Mr. Lincoln, It was a lot of bang against a safe undefended target. The bowl shape also mentioned here was similar to Hiroshima having mountains in the background. The hills helped reverberate the blast.

As for the Dambusters, the effect was NEVER to have something strong enough to destroy the dam. The damages and electric production was back in 2 or 3 weeks. HOWEVER, the Germans had to deploy 10,000-15,000 FLAK gunners throughout Germany which otherwise could have been used on the Russian front, a critical redeployment.

W.T. Sherman's quote was, "War is Hell and should be as no sane man should ever want to repeat it." Sometimes a message is all that is necessary. It ended WWII when 2 cities virtually disappeared in 3 days when an enemy swore to suicide before surrender understood the message. It was good as the U.S. didn't have another "message" until October. General Sherman's "messages" were similar. Cities become bonfires until C.S.A. General Longstreet understood the message.

Basically, this could have been a test. I await the test score. I hope it passed with flying colors as we don't want to be deployed on many fronts. W.T. Sherman reinvented war but knew not to be spread thin.

on Apr 22, 2017

"As for the Dambusters, the effect was NEVER to have something strong enough to destroy the dam."

It caused a bit of a leak, though not as much as British propaganda portrayed.

Though Barnes Wallis created both the "Upkeep" depth bomb used in Chastise, and the Tall Boy and Grand Slam "earthquake" bombs none of them was intended to effect the same sort of kill mechanism as the MOAB.

"It ended WWII when 2 cities virtually disappeared in 3 days . . ."

The assertion that two bombs were responsible for the victory over Japan depends upon ignoring everything which happened in the previous four years.

"Basically, this could have been a test."

This was the claim of several Afghans.

"I hope it passed with flying colors as we don't want to be deployed on many fronts."

MOAB will never destroy the American propensity to be engaged upon many fronts. Our appetite for wars of choice has become immense. America in the post Vietnam era might well meet the M'Naghten test.

W.T. Sherman's quote was, "War is Hell and should be as no sane man should ever want to repeat it."

While Bill Sherman was nowhere near as insane as General Dan Sickles, he often exhibited a degree of instability noted by friends. He was, however, well acquainted with the South and well aware of it's vulnerabilities.

He waged a war of terror intended to undermine the morale of the Army of Northern Virginia by bisecting the deep South in a campaign of plunder, pillage and destruction while freeing the slaves upon which the southern economy depended. It was, as you understand, Total War.

"Basically, this could have been a test. I await the test score."

I am not waiting, I am seeking the "test score" using data available from open sources.

If the goal was the destruction of tunnels, it failed. We have weapons better designed to achieve that purpose.

If the goal was to terrorize Daesh, it failed.

If the goal was to propagandize America, it succeeded.

If the goal was to kill and suppress Daesh forces around a command center so as to achieve the recovery of significant intelligence, it seems to have succeeded.

"W.T. Sherman reinvented war but knew not to be spread thin."

Being spread thin was essential to the success of the "March to the Sea."

Bill Sherman's army terrorized the South. When it marched through Washington behind Grant's during the Victory celebration it almost terrorized the capital.

It was not much of a parade army, but it was most effective at war.

How effective was MOAB, not much of a practical weapon, but a very big boom?

Data is sill coming in even if the event no longer interests the American press.

on Apr 25, 2017

Not much new news except that a backlash is beginning to form.

"Members of provincial council said Tuesday in Jalalabad city, the provincial capital that the United States tested its weapons under the pretext of targeting Daesh terrorist group.

Deputy head of provincial council, Lal Mohammad Dorrani said that they had already expressed criticism against the US attack, but they didn’t share their concerns with the media because they were collecting information.

Spojmay Radio reported that the provincial officials called the US attack against the international principles, asking the United Nations Security Council to investigate it."

afghanistantimes.af/us-tested-its-weapon-in-achin-officials/

on Apr 28, 2017

Sounds like some here are in need of their "safe spaces" with "de-stressing puppies".

on Apr 28, 2017

Another good reason for dropping them is they nearing the end of there shelf life these bombs they have 14 left in stock. What would be a better way to dispose of them?

on Apr 29, 2017

Killing people is so last week..
Let's blow away what's left of the Great Barrier Reef.

on Apr 28, 2017

Boxswing: You got it. The best war is the one that hasn't been started.

on Apr 29, 2017

Tell mr lincoln to check his facts on the bombs created by Barnes Wallis before he makes such uninformed and illeducated comments .This level of misinformation regarding the actual facts does little to uphold the intellectual capacity to comprehend an objective understanding of history.Thus unfortunately re-enforcing the predudiced opinion of the vast marjority of the non American population of this planet into believing your just a bunch of arrogant "Yankers"

Please log in or register to post comments.