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‘Mother of all bombs dropped’ in Afghanistan – GBU-43 blast radius, cost, weight, length

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WASHINGTON:  No major war is taking place in Afghanistan at the moment. But this is no reason for the US not to hit the poor South Asian nation that has been completely destroyed in the geo-political war initiated by the US in the region.

For close to four decades now, Afghanistan is being used as battleground for United States’ proxy war in Afghanistan. The nation has been bombed almost to stone age. United States, and its coalition partners, despite maintaining a huge army haven’t been able to bring peace to the war torn nation.

Now as their strategy seems to be floundering, they don’t want to give other powers, any chance to plan and bring peace in the region. The latest bombing may be a tactic to keep away Russia and China from implementing their peace plan in the region.

The world was made aware of the massive fire power following the banner headlines telling the world about the huge bomb that the US dropped in Afghanistan. A CBSNews headline screamed that the United States dropped a massive GBU-43 bomb, the largest non-nuclear bomb in Afghanistan over some alleged ISIS or Daesh targets.
While the GBU-43 may not be an atomic bomb, its destruction was almost as severe as a small nuclear device. The mother of all bombs, as it is known weighs as much as 21,600 pound or 9,797 kg. It is a smart bomb and is reportedly GPS-guided.

US, while announcing the fact that it had dropped the massive bomb on some tunnels used by ISIS in Afghanistan said it was the first-ever combat use of the bomb, known as the GBU-43.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, while making the news public said, “We targeted tunnels and caves used by ISIS fighters to move around freely…Took all measures to prevent collateral damage and civilian casualties”.

General John Nicholson, the head of US and international forces in Afghanistan said, “This is the right munitions to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against ISIS-K…As (ISIS-Khorasan’s) losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defence.”

United States has massive stockpiles of not just atomic weapons, but huge amount of conventional weapons of all shapes and sizes. GBU-43 is said to bear some similarity to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, which was used to clear heavily wooded areas in the Vietnam War and in Iraq to clear mines and later as a psychological weapon against the Iraqi military. After the psychological impact of the BLU-82 on enemy soldiers was witnessed, and no BLU-82 weapons remained, the MOAB was developed partly to continue the ability to intimidate Iraqi soldiers.

It must be kept in mind that GBU-43 is not a penetrator weapon and is primarily intended for soft to medium surface targets covering extended areas and targets in a contained environment such as a deep canyon or within a cave system.

A GlobalSecurity report in a report says,

MOAB is a guided bomb which delivers the 18,700 lb BLU-120/B warhead bomb with KMU-593/B GPS/INS. The MOAB is the largest-ever satellite-guided, air-delivered weapon in history [not the largest ever, but the largest satellite guided]. The 21,600-pound MOAB is an improved replacement for the unguided 15,000-pound BLU-82 Daisy Cutter. It is 30 feet long with a diameter of 40.5 inches. The warhead is a blast-type warhead. It was developed in only nine weeks to be available for the Iraq campaign, but it was not used in combat.

The 21,700-pound [9,500 kilogram] bomb contains 18,700 pounds of H6, an explosive that is a mixture of RDX (Cyclotrimethylene trinitramine), TNT, and aluminum. H6 is used by the military for general purpose bombs. H6 is an Australian produced explosive composition. Composition H6 is a widely used main charge filling for underwater blast weapons such as mines, depth charges, torpedoes and mine disposal charges. HBX compositions (HBX-1, HBX-3, and H6) are aluminized (powdered aluminum) explosives used primarily as a replacement for the obsolete explosive, torpex. They are employed as bursting charges in mines, depth bombs, depth charges, and torpedoes. HBX-3 and H-6 have lower sensitivity to impact and much higher explosion test temperatures than torpex. The MOAB weapon produces a very large explosive blast, with lesser fragmentation effects due to a thin-walled aluminum casing.

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