Murphy's Law: Russian Claims That Theirs is Bigger

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September 23, 2007: Russian claims to have developed and tested a more powerful bomb than the U.S. MOAB are being picked apart. Russia recently tested a ten ton conventional bomb, which it claimed was twice as powerful as a similar U.S. weapon, the nine ton MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast). The American weapon was ready for service four years ago, but has never been used. MOAB is pushed out the back of a SOCOM (Special Operations Command) MC-130E aircraft. The blast can be felt several kilometers away, and the mushroom shaped cloud (that rises to over 10,000 feet) can be seen more than 40 kilometers away.

MOAB replaced the Vietnam era BLU-82 (Daisy Cutter ) bomb, which used a 6.3 ton slurry of ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum. MOAB uses more powerful tritonal explosives. In addition to a more powerful explosion, MOAB doesn't need a parachute, like the Daisy Cutter, but uses a GPS (like JDAM) and an aerodynamic body to detonate the bomb at a precise area. Thus the MOAB can be dropped from a higher altitude (like outside the range of machine-guns and rifles).

MOAB is also shoved out the back of a cargo aircraft (usually a C-130, but since the MOAB uses GPS and higher altitude drops, the C-17 can probably be used as well.) MOAB is a highly destructive and terrifying weapon. If used in combat, the force of a MOAB explosion is sufficient to knock over tanks and kill any people within several hundred meters of the detonation.

The Russian bomb, which was unnamed, was said to have been dropped from a Tu-160 heavy bomber, but close examination of the Russian supplied video indicates that their bomb was also shoved out the back of a cargo aircraft.

Russia also said that their bomb contained 7.1 tons of a more powerful explosive than MOAB used, and that the blast radius of the Russia bomb was 300 meters, which is twice the size of MOAB. While MOAB is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT (the benchmark for measuring different explosives), the Russian bomb was said to be equal to 44 tons of TNT. It also appeared, from the Russian test video, that their bomb was a FAE (fuel air explosive). This could be seen from the typical FAE two stage explosion. The Russian video also showed the area surrounding the blast, and the damage was consistent with an FAE explosion, and about as powerful as MOAB. It appears that the Russians were making publicity, not a factual announcement of a new weapon.

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