Thursday, April 13, 2017

US drops MOAB, largest conventional bomb ever, on ISIS in Afghanistan.

GBU-43/U MOAB. Air Force photo/Reuters

The United States has used the largest conventional bomb in their arsenal, the GBU-43/U MOAB, on an ISIS base in Afghanistan. Reuters.  The attack took place in Eastern Afghanistan where ISIS had a major base in a network of caves and tunnels. The MOAB stands for Massive Ordinance Air Blast, but is more commonly known as the "Mother of all Bombs". It is a 21,600 pound bomb with 11 tons of explosives and this is the first time it has been used in combat. It is unclear how much damage the bomb did to ISIS's base but President Donald Trump described the attack as "very successful". The attack comes a week after a US soldier was killed by ISIS in the same region of Afghanistan. The MOAB was used largely because it is effective against shallow fortification like the caves and tunnels like the ones ISIS was using in Afghanistan. 

My Comment:
Very interesting deployment. We have never used the GBU-43 before and it seems as though this attack was extremely effective. Though I haven't heard what the damage was, I am assuming that the ISIS base in eastern Afghanistan has been completely destroyed and many ISIS fighters were killed. 

It might have been a bit overkill though. The United States has plenty of other weapons that can destroy caves and tunnels that are a bit less overwhelming. We have the "bunker buster" series of bombs that were specifically made for blowing up underground targets, like the GBU-28, GBU-37 and GBU-57. To be fair, the GBU-43 is useful for that as well, but the other bombs are, at the least, cheaper. 

So why use the MOAB? I think there is a fairly obvious reason why. We are almost certainly stockpiling the other bunker buster bombs for possible use in Syria or North Korea. Those bombs would be excellent for destroying bunkers hiding enemy leaders or housing nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. 

The other series of bunker busters are also easier to deploy. Other bombers, like the B-1 and B-2 can use them and even fighter jets can drop them as well. The MOAB has to be delivered by a specially modified C-130 cargo plane, which obviously has a smaller chance of surviving in anything but a totally clear airspace. It's perfect for Afghanistan but in a combat role in Syria or North Korea? Forget about it. 

Still, the usual suspects are up in arms about the use of the MOAB. Part of this is just normal liberal hand wringing about a Republican president. I guarantee that if Obama had dropped a MOAB on Afghanistan, nobody would have said anything. The only reason people are freaking out is because it was Donald Trump that dropped the bomb. 

There has also been some very irresponsible fake news about the MOAB as well. There was a graphic floating around today that described the comparative yields of the MOAB with the Little Boy bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. That bomb had a yield of 15 kilotons while the MOAB has 11 tons of explosives. The image dropped the "kilo" from the Little Boy bomb and made it sound like the MOAB was just a little bit smaller than the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. 

Once again that is some very irresponsible reporting. I don't know if this was a mistake or deliberate but either way it fed into the leftist hysteria about the MOAB. No, we didn't just drop a mini-nuke on Afghanistan. We did drop a very large conventional bomb that was used for it's ability to destroy tunnels and caves. The world isn't ending and this story isn't even all that remarkable, other than the fact it's the first time we have used it in combat... 

No comments:

Post a Comment