The US Air Force has dropped the “Mother Of All Bombs” on Nangarhar, Afghanistan. It was the first time this 21,600-pound bomb — technically known as a GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, or MOAB — has been used.
The MOAB, which contains over 8,000 pounds of an Australian explosive called H6 that’s typically used underwater, is powerful: It has an explosion equivalent to 11 tons of TNT. In comparison, “Little Boy,” the uranium atomic bomb that the U.S. military dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945, had the explosive power of about 16 kilotons — or 16,000 tons — of TNT. “Fat Man,” the bomb dropped on Nagasaki three days later, had an explosiveness of about 20,000 tons (or 20 kilotons). Units are key here; the level of damage caused by the MOAB versus nuclear weapons differs by a factor of 1,000.
However, the blast radius — that’s the distance from the point where the bomb is dropped — is comparable. MOAB’s blast radius is estimated to be about 1 mile, which is the same as the radius measured for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.