The Pentagon said that U.S. forces in Afghanistan dropped the military’s largest non-nuclear bomb on an Islamic State target in eastern Afghanistan on Thursday.
This is the first time a Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) has been used in combat, Fox News reported.
Here’s what you need to know about MOAB:
· The MOAB, also known as the “Mother of All Bombs,” was dropped out of a C-130 aircraft in Afghanistan for the first time on Thursday.
· The MOAB had never been used in combat until now. It was brought into service in 2008.
· The MOAB weighs 21,000 pounds, including 18,000 pounds of explosives.
· It is the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal.
· The MOAB is considered similar to a small nuclear weapon.
· The concept behind the MOAB was first developed in the Vietnam War through the BLU-82B/C-130 weapon system, nicknamed the “Daisy Cutter.” That weighed 15,000 pounds and, with a huge blast radius, was used to clear jungles. In addition, it was a psychological weapon, in that the loud sound and huge flash helped create “shock and awe” in the enemy. The bomb was later used in Afghanistan.
· During the George W. Bush administration, the BLU-82B gave way to the even larger GBU-43, or MOAB.
· It was first tested back in 2003.
· The bomb, in its first combat use, was dropped on an ISIS tunnel complex in Nangahar province. MOAB is designed for such a situation—it explodes in the air, which creates air pressure that can make tunnels and other structures collapse. It can be used at the start of an offensive to soften up the enemy, weakening both its infrastructure and morale.
“As [ISIS’] losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS].”
The statement said U.S. forces took every precaution to avoid civilian casualties.
During President Trump’s campaign he promised to “bomb the sh-t” out of ISIS, and this escalation could be the first sign of that policy in action.