GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs)

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“MOAB” redirects here. For other uses, see Moab (disambiguation).
GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast
MOAB bomb.jpg
TypeConventional bomb
Place of originUnited States
Service history
In serviceSince 2003
Used byUnited States Air Force, Royal Air Force
Production history
DesignerAir Force Research Laboratory
ManufacturerMcAlester Army Ammunition Plant
Weight10,300 kg (22,600 lb)
Length9.1885 m (30 ft 1.75 in)
Diameter103 cm (40.5 in)

Filling weight8,500 kg (18,700 lb)
Blast yield11 tons TNT

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB pronounced /ˈm.æb/, commonly known as the Mother of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional (non-nuclear) bomb, developed for the United States military by Albert L. Weimorts, Jr. of the Air Force Research Laboratory.[1] At the time of development, it was touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.[2] The bomb was designed to be delivered by a C-130 Hercules, primarily the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.

Since then, Russia has tested its “Father of All Bombs“, which is claimed to be four times as powerful as the MOAB.[3]

Operational history[edit]

MOAB was first tested with the explosive tritonal on 11 March 2003, on Range 70 located at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. It was again tested on 21 November 2003.[2]

Aside from two test articles, the only known production is of 15 units at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in 2003 in support of the Iraq War. As of early 2007, none of those were known to have been used, although a single MOAB was moved to the Persian Gulf area in April 2003.[4]

On April 13, 2017, a MOAB was dropped on a target in the Nangarhar Province inside Afghanistan. It was the first non-testing use of the bomb.[5]


The basic operational concept bears some similarity to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, which was used to clear heavily wooded areas in the Vietnam War and in Iraq to clear mines and later as a psychological weapon against the Iraqi military. After the psychological impact of the BLU-82 on enemy soldiers was witnessed, and no BLU-82 weapons remained, the MOAB was developed partly to continue the ability to intimidate Iraqi soldiers. Pentagon officials had suggested their intention to use MOAB as an anti-personnel weapon, as part of the “shock and awe” strategy integral to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[6]

The MOAB is not a penetrator weapon and is primarily intended for soft to medium surface targets covering extended areas and targets in a contained environment such as a deep canyon or within a cave system. However, multiple strikes with lower yield ordnance may be more effective and can be delivered by fighter/bombers such as the F-16 with greater stand-off capability than the C-130 and C-17. High altitude carpet-bombing with much smaller 230-to-910-kilogram (500 to 2,000 lb) bombs delivered via heavy bombers such as the B-52, B-2, or the B-1 is also highly effective at covering large areas.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. Jump up^ Times Wire Services (27 December 2005). “Albert L. Weimorts Jr. 67; Engineer Created ‘Bunker Buster’ Bombs”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b “GBU-43/B “Mother Of All Bombs” / Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb”.
  3. Jump up^ Luke Harding (12 September 2007). “Russia unveils the ‘father of all bombs'”. The Guardian. Retrieved 12 September 2007.
  4. Jump up^ MOAB bomb moved to Iraq war region
  5. Jump up^ CNN, Daniella Diaz and Amanda Wills. “President Trump today: Live updates”. CNN. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  6. Jump up^ “Enter Moab”. National Review Online. 2003. Retrieved 9 December 2011.
  7. Jump up^ “United States Military Weapons of War”. 2007. Retrieved 9 December 2007.

External links[edit]

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