Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP)

  • Recently, the US dropped the most destructive non-nuclear bomb ever used in combat on an alleged target of the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan.
  • The bomb, officially known as the GBU 43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast and colloquially as ‘the mother of all bombs (MOAB)’, has been in the US arsenal since 2003. It weighs over 10,000kg and its blast yield is equivalent to that of 11 tonnes of TNT.
  • The MOAB was developed to replace the BLU-82, also known as the ‘daisy cutter’, a 6,800kg bomb used in the Vietnam war to create instant helicopter landing sites. The explosive force could vaporise trees in a 76-metre radius.
  • The MOAB is, however, not the heaviest bomb in the US arsenal. The heaviest conventional bomb possessed by the US military is the 14,000kg GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which has never been used. However, its blast yield is lower than that of the MOAB.
  • In 2007, Russia tested the Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP), which has been dubbed the ‘father of all bombs (FOAB)’ as it is four times more powerful than the MOAB. Though lighter at 7,000kg, the bomb has a blast yield equivalent to that of 44 tonnes of TNT.

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