Air Weapons: November 27, 2003


On November 21st, the U.S. Air Force conducted it's second, and final, test of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb near Elgin Air Force base in Florida. This one was dropped from a SOCOM (Special Operations Command) MC-130E aircraft, and detonated 46 seconds later. The blast could be felt several kilometers away, and the mushroom shaped cloud (that rose to over 10,000 feet) could be seen more than 40 kilometers away. The ten ton bomb, the largest in the U.S. inventory, is now considered available for use, mainly by SOCOM. One possible area that might see MOAB used is Afghanistan, where Taliban and al Qaeda bands operate out in the desolate hills, hiding in caves. The bomb is quite accurate, using GPS, but is overkill in most situations. As a psychological weapon, however, there's nothing else that quite matches it. The bomb is literally pushed out the back of a cargo plane, rather than being hung underneath a bombers wing.


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