|"The Father of All Bombs" (FOAB)|
|Place of origin||Russia|
|Used by||Russian Air Force|
|Mass||7,100 kg (15,650 lb)|
|Filling||High explosive and fine aluminum powder and ethylene oxide mix.|
|Blast yield||44 tons TNT / 80,000 Ibs|
Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP) Russian: Авиационная вакуумная бомба повышенной мощности (АВБПМ), nicknamed "Father of All Bombs" (FOAB) Russian: "Папа всех бомб" ("Пвб"), is a Russian-designed, bomber-delivered thermobaric weapon.
The bomb is reportedly similar to the US military's GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast which is often unofficially called "Mother of All Bombs" derived from its official military acronym "MOAB". This weapon would therefore be the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) weapon in the world. However, the veracity of Russia's claims concerning the weapon's size and power have been questioned by US defense analysts.
The thermobaric device yields the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT using about seven tons of a new type of high explosive. Because of this, the bomb's blast and pressure wave have a similar effect to a small tactical nuclear weapon. The bomb works by detonating in mid-air. Most damage is inflicted by a supersonic shockwave and extremely high temperatures. Thermobaric weapons differ from conventional explosive weapons in that they generate a longer, more sustained blast wave with greater temperatures. In doing so, they produce more damage over a larger area than a conventional weapon of similar mass.
According to General Aleksandr Rukshin, the Russian Deputy Chief of Staff, the new bomb was smaller than the MOAB but much deadlier because the temperature at the centre of the blast is twice as high. He claimed the bomb's capabilities are comparable to nuclear weapons, but unlike nuclear weaponry known for its radioactive fallout, use of the weapon does not damage or pollute the environment beyond the blast radius.
In comparison, the MOAB produces the equivalent of 11 tons of TNT from 8 tons of high explosive. The blast radius of the FOAB is 300 meters, almost double that of the MOAB, and the temperature produced is twice as high.
|Mass:||10.3 tonnes||7.1 tonnes|
|TNT equivalent:||11 tons (22,000 lb)||≈44 tons (≈88,000 lb)|
|Blast radius:||150 meters (492 ft)||300 meters (984 ft)|
Some defense analysts question both the yield of the bomb and whether it could be deployed by a Tupolev Tu-160 bomber. A report by Wired says photos and the video of the event suggest that it is designed to be deployed from the rear of a slow moving cargo plane, and they note that the bomb-test video released by the Russians never shows both the bomb and the bomber in the same camera shot. There are also questions on what type of explosives it used. They quoted Tom Burky, a senior research scientist at Battelle, saying "It's not even clear what kind of weapon the Russians tested." He questions if it was what some experts call a fuel-air explosive or if it was a thermobaric weapon. "Fuel-air and thermobaric bombs differ in usefulness". Burky says that the weapon depicted in the video appears to be a fuel-air explosive, based on its shape.
John Pike, an analyst at the think tank GlobalSecurity, says he believes the weapon is roughly as powerful as the Russians claim. What he does not necessarily believe is that the weapon is new. He says the Russians have possessed a range of thermobaric weapons for at least four decades.
Robert Hewson, an editor for Jane's Information Group, told the BBC it was likely that FOAB indeed represented the world's biggest non-nuclear bomb. "You can argue about the numbers and how you scale this but the Russians have a long and proven history of developing weapons in the thermobaric class", he says. UPI claimed the device "would enormously boost Russia's conventional military capabilities".