Science

Russians Still Claim their ‘Father of All Bombs’ is More Powerful than the ‘Mother of All Bombs’

By | Apr 18, 2017 06:51 AM EDT
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FOAB. (Photo : Russian Aerospace Forces)

Yes, there's a "Father of All Bombs" (FOAB) and it happens to be Russian.

And the Russians continue to claim --  without offering ironclad proof -- their FOAB is four times more powerful than the American Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) dropped on an ISIS stronghold in Afghanistan last April 7.

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The Russians allege their September 11, 2007 test of FOAB is the largest non-nuclear explosion on record. More accurately, this test is largest "thermobaric" device to have been detonated.

Russia's Father of All Bombs is a "thermobaric bomb" that goes by the official designation, Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP). The Russian for this is "Aviatsonnaya vakuumaya bomba povyshennoy moshchnosti (AVBPM)."

The American MOAB, officially the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB), is also a thermobaric bomb.

Thermobaric weapons create their unimaginably stupendous explosions by using oxygen from the surrounding air to generate an intense, high-temperature explosion. The blast wave typically produced by a thermobaric weapon lasts vastly longer than that produced by conventional explosives.

Thermobaric weapons have the longest sustained blast wave and the most destructive force of any known non-nuclear explosive. They also consume all the oxygen in a blast area.

The 10,000 kg MOAB used in Afghanistan used Tritonal as its explosive fuel. Tritonal is a mixture of four parts TNT to one part aluminum powder. The aluminum increases the destructive power the TNT by almost 20 percent.

The blast of a MOAB is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT.

In contrast, the 7,000 kg FOAB exploded in 2007 allegedly contained a seven ton charge of a liquid fuel surrounding a high explosive charge. Together, these components generated an explosion the Russians claim was the equivalent to 49 tons of TNT. The liquid fuel might have been pressurized ethylene oxide mixed with aluminum.

The lighter weight of FOAB itself and its explosive filler has led western experts to cast doubt over Russian claims the explosion was the equivalent of 49 tons of TNT. This and the absence of credible videos showing the test from the time it was dropped from an aircraft to the time FOAB exploded in an air burst.

 

 

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