The “Mother of All Bombs,” the GBU-43/B Massive Air Blast, is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in America’s arsenal, and it was used for the first time in combat on April 13 in Afghanistan against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
- It has a relatively thin aluminum casing designed to burst on a surface, not penetrate it. That creates a large blast with lesser fragmentation.
- It’s a “smart bomb” with GPS-guided munition. It’s got stabilizing fins and inertial gyro for pitch and roll control.
- It weighs 21,000 pounds!
- The MOAB delivers an 18,700-pound warhead known as the BLU-120/B, which is made of H6 – a mixture of cyclotrimethylene trinitramine, TNT and aluminum.
- It’s BIG – 30 feet long with a diameter of 40.5 inches, to be exact.
The MOAB was loaded into a C-130 Hercules, where it sat in a cradle on an airdrop platform until the whole platform was pulled off the plane at a high altitude by a drogue parachute, which is used to slow it down. Once in the air, the weapon was quickly released from the platform to keep up its forward momentum. The grid fins then opened to stabilize it and guide it to its target.