Fox News is reporting that the United States has dropped the most powerful non-nuclear bomb at their disposal in Afghanistan in a strike against ISIS fighters (and following the death of a Green Beret). The 21,600-pound “MOAB”, short for “Mother of all bombs,” or “Massive Ordnance Air Blast,” has never before been used in combat by the U.S. (although the bomb was originally developed during the Iraq War). U.S. military sources are still gauging the damage the bomb created on the ground. Reports are the bomb was dropped at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday. CNN adds that their military sources said the target included ISIS tunnels and caves.
As the news broke, these tweets lit up the Internet.
The MOAB bomb was first moved to the Persian Gulf in 2003, and was envisioned as being used primarily for “psychological operations.” The military’s hope at the time was that the mere sight of MOAB tests would intimidate Iraqi troops, thus making the actual use of the bomb only an emergency last-ditch option.
The Vietnam-era “Daisy Cutter,” a “15,000-pound bomb with 12,600 pounds of the less-powerful GSX explosives,” was replaced by the MOAB as the strongest non-nuclear bomb known to mankind. To drop a MOAB, the U.S. must load it into a large aircraft, then manually push it out of the aircraft in mid-flight with a parachute attached. Here’s a video illustration.