January 5, 2019
On Friday China unveiled video from a successful test of its most powerful non-nuclear weapon, dubbed the “Mother of All Bombs” in reference to a weapon previously used by US forces in Afghanistan.
The official Xinhua news agency published details of the weapon for the first time while calling it the “Chinese version of the ‘Mother of all Bombs’”.
It is reportedly 5-6 meters long and its massive weight means the delivery vehicle, in this case China’s H-6K long range nuclear capable bomber, can only carry one at a time.
While China has denied that it is a thermobaric bomb — an explosive that uses oxygen in the surrounding air to generate a high-temperature explosion — its incredible size mimics the 22,000-pound GBU-43 Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb that US forces dropped in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province targeting a jihadist hideout tunnel complex in April of 2017.
While the Chinese bomb is long, it actually reportedly weighs less than the American version, according to military analyst Wei Dongxu, who was quoted by the semi-official Global Times further as saying, “The massive explosion that was generated would easily wipe out land fortifications.”
The short video of the test was published to the website of state arms manufacturer Norinco and shows the bomb producing a massive ball of fire and black smoke over a nondescript plain.
Chinese media gave no details as to the date, location or range of the bomb blast, but the video was first released on Chinese social media on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
It remains, however, the US is the only military that has ever actually used such an oversized non-nuclear device in battle.