Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb

The Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) (also known as the Mother Of All Bombs) is a large-yield conventional air-to-surface bomb developed by the United States military, touted as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed.

Like many US Army acronyms, the term MOAB seems contrived. It is spelled and pronounced the same as the Middle Eastern region of Moab, thus giving the effect of having been deliberately chosen (see contrived acronym). Others suggest that it stands for Mother Of All Bombs.

Table of contents
1 Development
2 Description
3 Evaluation of its utility


The MOAB is an Air Force Research Laboratory technology project that began in fiscal year 2002. It underwent a successful field test at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida on March 11, 2003 and another in mid-November. The U.S. Air Force Research Lab has said a larger version of the MOAB, weighing thirteen tons, is under development.


At 9.1 m long and 9800 kg, with high explosive as 8482 kg of that,[1] it can only be dropped from the cargo door of a large aircraft. It is guided by global positioning technology.

Evaluation of its utility

The basic design is similar to that of the BLU-82 Daisy cutter, which was used in the Vietnam War and in Afghanistan, mostly for clearing of rocky or heavily wooded areas. Pentagon officials have, however, suggested its intention to use MOAB as an anti-personnel weapon, as part of the "Shock and awe" strategy integral to the proposed action in Iraq (see 2003 invasion of Iraq).

However, the utility of the bomb as an anti-personnel weapon is limited and the publicity associated with it may be part of a psyop. The utility of the bomb in actual anti-personnel military operations is limited by two considerations. First, per pound, it is far less effective an anti-personnel weapon than cluster bombs. Second, the bomb is likely to cause large amounts of collateral damage when used in areas with civilians.

The city of Moab, Utah, a tourist destination, has asked the United States Government to change the name.