US tests 'mother of all bombs'
Sunday November 23 2003 01:23 IST
WASHINGTON: The US Air Force has tested a most powerful conventional bomb, dubbed the "mother of all bombs", in a test range in Florida, reports Xinhua.
The bomb dropped by an Air Force cargo plane, an MC-130 Combat Talon, and exploded at Eglin Air Force Base, producing a fiery blast and huge cloud, said Jake Swinson, a spokesman for the Air Armament Centre.
The 9,800-kg satellite-guided GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB) is the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the US inventory.
"It looked like a big mushroom cloud filled with flames as it grew and grew and grew," Swinson said after the test on Friday.
The MOAB, which carried 8,482 kg of high-performance explosives, was detonated just above the ground when the tip of the 9.1-metre-long bomb hit the earth.
This was the final of four developmental tests for the MOAB, but the second in which it was detonated.
The first live test of the bomb, following two previous inert tests, was conducted on March 11 at the same base, just over one week before the start of the US-led invasion of Iraq.
Several of the bombs were reportedly shipped to the Gulf region in April.
The MOAB is developed as a successor to the 6,800-kg BLU-82, or "Daisy Cutter," which was used during the Vietnam War to clear helicopter-landing areas, in the 1991 Gulf War to clear mines and for psychological effect against the Iraqi forces and in 2001 in Afghanistan on tunnels believed to be hideouts used by the Al Qaeda.