For the first time in military history, the United States has deployed its largest, non-nuclear bomb, the GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb in combat against an enemy target.
The MOAB (also nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs”) is a 22,600 lb bomb with a blast yield of 11 tons of TNT.
According to the Wikipedia article on the bomb:
The MOAB is not a penetrator weapon and is primarily intended for soft to medium surface targets covering extended areas and targets in a contained environment such as a deep canyon or within a cave system. However, multiple strikes with lower yield ordnance may be more effective and can be delivered by fighter/bombers such as the F-16 with greater stand-off capability than the C-130 and C-17.
High altitude carpet-bombing with much smaller 230-to-910-kilogram (500 to 2,000 lb) bombs delivered via heavy bombers such as the B-52, B-2, or the B-1 is also highly effective at covering large areas.
According to a report from CNN:
They said the target was an ISIS tunnel and cave complex as well as personnel in the Achin district of the Nangarhar province.
The military is currently assessing the damage. Gen. John Nicholson, commander of US forces in Afghanistan, signed off on the use of the bomb, according to the sources. Authority had to be sought from Gen. Joseph Votel, commander of US Central Command.
This is the first time a MOAB has been used in the battlefield, according to the US officials. This munition was developed during the Iraq War.
According to a Fox News report, the US military felt the deployment of this munition was necessary to stop dangerous operations by ISIS in the area:
For comparison to the 21,000-pound MOAB, each Tomahawk cruise missile launched at a Syrian military air base last week was 1,000-pounds each.
“As [ISIS’] losses have mounted, they are using IEDs, bunkers and tunnels to thicken their defense,” Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said in a statement. “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles and maintain the momentum of our offensive against [ISIS].”
The strike was carried out by a US Air Force Special Operations MC-130 aircraft earlier today.
Here is a short video describing the destructive power of the MOAB:
Here is a short video report from Fox News: