MOAB, “Mother of All Bombs”, in Afghanistan

Things that go BANG! have a great draw. You could say anything you want about the GBU-43, the “Mother of All Bombs”. Most readers in the U.S. will have a mildly euphoric feeling, similar to that from a bar of really good chocolate.

The MOAB is not the largest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal. The crown belongs to the GBU-57A/B, which is 50% heavier. The MOAB is “larger” only in the distinction of the largest amount of explosive. The GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator contains much less explosive, but it has a case designed to penetrate at least dozens of yards (with specialty concrete somewhat resistant)  into an underground target.

The MOAB is an air-burst bomb. For the surface targets for which it was designed, the GBU-43 provides unparalleled “shock and awe.” But since the target was a tunnel complex, why was the GBU-57 not used instead? Strike planners always have legitimate technical reasons, which have nothing to do with revenge. There were only 15 GBU-43’s in the stockpile, and now one less.

Because the MOAB is an air burst weapon, it has very limited effectiveness on a cave system. If the entrance is known, and happens to be a massive structure instead of a rabbit hole, it might be useful. A topographic depression could also focus the blast. But in practically all cases of underground targets, the GBU-57A/B is much more “total.”

There are a limited number of reasons why the GBU-43 was used instead of the GBU-57. It is  disappointing that the media leave this unexplored. All of the possible reasons are easily understandable by the general public.

The bomb, in and of itself, is treated as a news article. Bombs are not news articles; they are weapons.








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