Biggest conventional bomb around... (sort of gun-related!)


March 10, 2003, 12:01 AM
Yes, I know posts in this forum must be gun-related, but couldn't this be considered the biggest conventional projectile around? :D

From :

February 27, 2003: The U.S. Air Force is developing a new, 2nd generation, ten ton large, low air burst bomb. It will replace the older "Daisy Cutter" 7.5 ton bomb developed during the 1960s. This was a 7.5 ton bomb using a semi-liquid explosive for clearing landing zones in the Vietnam jungle. The terms "Daisy Cutter" actually comes from the four foot probe at the bottom of the bomb which triggered the explosion without creating a crater (helicopters don't like to land in craters.) The probe was later replaced with a radar altimeter fuze, but the nickname "Daisy Cutter" stuck. The official designation was BLU-82 (or "Big Blue"). Until the BLU-82 came along, the biggest non-nuclear explosion obtainable was with a FAE (Fuel Air Explosives). FAE works by dropping a bomb that is actually a large aerosol dispenser. When the FAE "explodes" it first dispenses a large cloud of flammable material (anything like gasoline or propane will work). The cloud is then ignited and huge explosion results. There's one drawback, the size and density of the aerosol cloud depends a lot on the wind, air temperature and humidity. So the power of the explosion will vary a lot. But it's difficult to get a FAE to work in a bomb larger than 2000 pounds. So the replacement for the BLU-82 bomb, called MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst) simply uses more of the slurry of ammonium nitrate and powdered aluminum. In dry, dusty conditions, the Daisy Cutter produces a mushroom cloud similar to that created by a nuclear explosion (and for the same reason, the sheer size of the explosion creates an upward pull that sends up a "mushroom" of smoke and dust on a column of smoke). In addition to a more powerful explosion, MOAB doesn’t need a parachute, like the Daisy Cutter, but uses a GPS (like JDAM) and an aerodynamic body to detonate the bomb at a precise area. Thus the MOAB can be dropped from a higher altitude (like outside the range of machine-guns and rifles). Like the Daisy Cutter, MOAB is shoved out the back of a cargo aircraft (usually a C-130, but since the MOAB uses GPS and higher altitude drops, the C-17 can probably be used as well.) MOAB is a highly destructive and terrifying weapon. If used in Iraq, it would demoralize any Iraqi troops in the vicinity who survived the explosion. The force of a MOAB explosion is sufficient to knock over tanks and kill any people within several hundred meters of the detonation. After the 1991 Gulf War, the United States started to get rid of it's various FAE weapons. But some were left in the inventory when the Afghanistan came along and the success of Daisy Cutters there, plus the new Russian research in FAE weapons, led to the new American research effort. There may be larger, or simply more powerful, FAE weapons in the works. But for the moment, MOAB, using pretty old fashioned technology, is the biggest non-nuclear bomb around.

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March 10, 2003, 12:11 AM
Don't worry Preach, your a mod, therefore your thread is safe.:D

Cool article!

March 10, 2003, 12:11 AM
Not a 'projectile' ,Father, but interesting non the less.

March 10, 2003, 12:14 AM
Wow! If during the first Gulf War the Brits thought we dropped a nuke from the ol BLU 82 think of the reaction of this one. I say drop one a mile outside of all major locations of Iraq troops and they will be sure we are nuking them and surender even faster than they planned on!


March 10, 2003, 12:21 AM
but Jaime, our troops don't have that many spare sets of underwear to issue to the POWs in replacement for the ones they were wearing at the time! ...oh wait a minute - most of them don't wear underwear...never mind....

March 10, 2003, 12:36 AM
Good. I never did like sliding BLU-82s out the back of C-130s at 3,000 feet... :neener:

March 10, 2003, 01:21 AM
FWIW - During WWII the Brits used a 22,000lb bomb for certain targets. It was called the "earthquake bomb". The idea was to drop it from high altitude to get maximum pentration before detonation. The resulting earth-transmitted shock waves would destroy re-enforced targets that "ordinary" bombs(4,000lb'ers) wouldn't touch. Unlike recent big bombs these were streamlined and would reach fairly high speed on the way down to maximize penetration.

March 10, 2003, 01:54 AM
WOOF! :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:

March 10, 2003, 01:57 AM
You're right, 0007. They had two versions: the "Tallboy", a 6-ton bomb, and towards the end of the war the "Grand Slam", a 10-ton version. The bombs' designer, Sir Barnes Wallis, intended them to be dropped from well over 30,000 feet by a bomber he also designed, but which was never built. In the end, they were dropped from the Avro Lancaster bomber, which could only just reach 20,000 feet with the "Grand Slam", and a bit higher (not much) with the "Tallboy". They still did a great job... The bombs broke the sound barrier as they fell, the shock-waves from which interfered with the fanatical accuracy desired for them, so Wallis off-set the tail fins to produce a spinning, gyroscopic action that kept them stable during the transition to supersonic speed. They were mostly used by 617 Squadron - the famous "Dambusters" - with 9 Squadron as a backup unit (both of 5 Group of Bomber Command).

"Tallboys" were used to sink the battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord, tackle V1 and V2 sites (including the destruction of the only V3 site at Mimoyecques in France), take out the U-boat pens in various French and German ports, etc. The "Grand Slam" wasn't dropped much, as the war was drawing to a close when it was introduced, but it was pretty spectacular. The USA had just begun manufacturing both bombs for use on Japan when the atomic bomb rendered them obsolescent overnight...

An interesting historical note is that the bomb suspension system used to carry the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was, in fact, the British bomb suspension system designed for "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" - it was perfect for ultra-large, heavy bombs, and Boeing simply fitted it into the B-29's used for the atomic bomb raids.

March 10, 2003, 02:05 AM
Would a .338 Lapua Mag or .50 BMG detonate one on the way down?

There it's gun related :D

Lord Grey Boots
March 10, 2003, 02:15 AM
So, how do you shove one of these out the back of a transport?

Lower ramp, release locking clamps, throw drag parachute out back, and hang on tight?

Would the drag parachute then detach at a certain point?

The ability to drop it reasonably accurately (like, minute of city block), from 20,000 ft would appear to greatly improve its utility.

March 10, 2003, 02:35 AM
They're attaching fins, motors, and a GPS guidance system to dumb bombs at a cost of about $20k, so I'll bet they have something like that for this thing.

Bet just one of them would completely flatten one of Saddam's palaces!

March 10, 2003, 03:51 AM
First of all very cool pics Preacherman,
second of all I thought this WAS a general discusion room so it didnt need to be gun related after all or did I slip back into the 1911 forum where it has to be general Non gun related (good trick since they closed it- but still ask if a thread is gun related)
just asking

March 10, 2003, 04:35 AM
Without going into detail, we used to employ mercury tilt-switches (belayed by arming wires until deployment) on some of the gear that I worked on in the U.S.N. back in the bronze age.

Nearly 25 years later, it wouldn't surprise me if they were using AI capable nano-bots on some of this stuff.:D

Poor little 7th century barbarians.

March 10, 2003, 04:37 AM
Human Shield THIS:evil:

March 10, 2003, 04:52 AM
Preacherman: Of course this is gun-related. Just like a hollowpoint or an EFMJ, this is a projectile that expands on impact...

It just expands A WHOLE LOT!...:evil:

Thanks for the info...

March 10, 2003, 04:52 AM
I could just see Slim Pickens riding one of those down
to Bagdad. Yeehah! :D

March 10, 2003, 08:58 AM
After clearing out some of the radar/SAM sites, I suggest the next salvo in the war be one of these in the center of each of Sadam's "Imperial Palaces".

That should get things off to a "booming" start, wouldn't you say ?


March 10, 2003, 11:42 AM
second of all I thought this WAS a general discusion room so it didnt need to be gun related after all or did I slip back into the 1911 forum where it has to be general Non gun related (good trick since they closed it- but still ask if a thread is gun related) :D "General" is supposed to be gun related, but we make exceptions for Padres who post pictures of the largest conventinal bombs ever made. ;)


March 10, 2003, 11:46 AM
Oh, come on - Hillary Clinton after a bean burrito is far worse. . .


Steve Smith
March 10, 2003, 12:29 PM
And exactly how would you know this, Trisha? ;)

March 10, 2003, 12:36 PM

Just look at the crowd she draws after breakfast! Kennedy, Schumer, Boxer, Feinstein, et al! Carrion bottom-feeders are drawn to the exciting scent, yes?

And then there's the MMM's who flock whenever she opens her mouth. . .

Empirical evidence enough for me!



March 10, 2003, 02:21 PM
I read somewhere that one of the troops said MOAB should mean "Mother Of All Bombs":D

March 10, 2003, 03:12 PM
"Tallboys" were used to sink the battleship Tirpitz in a Norwegian fjord Two fjords, actually. In the first raid, when Tirpitz was anchored in Altalfjord, only one hit was made. A Tallboy penetrated the deck armour somewhere in the forward part of the ship. The bomb exited below the waterline before detonating. This caused some flooding and other damage, but the ship was still able to move several hundred miles to the south under its own power. Tirpitz was no longer seaworthy, but the RAF didn't know that and tried again. A second raid, after Tirpitz was moved to Tromsø, achieved no hits. The third raid ended with two direct hits from Tallboys. The ship capsized and sank in shallow water.

Completely off topic, of course. But I know how much you Americans like to measure things in body-part equivalents. You know; balls, lip, cheek, gall etc. One of the resistance guys whose job it was to keep an eye on Tirpitz was told that the RAF/RN needed weather updates every hour, round the clock. How do you do that when the Gestapo has its radio vans out looking for resistance transmitters? Easy, you hook up your own radio to an antenna wire strung from the Tirpitz to shore. The Gestapo picked up the occasional coded transmission from the battleship itself, but they never found anything suspicious... That's cheeky! :)

Anyway, cool firecracker. :cool:

March 10, 2003, 04:27 PM
Oh, come on - Hillary Clinton after a bean burrito is far worse. . .

What makes you think the burrito has anything to do with it?


BTW, Preacherman, the Tallboys were actually second. The Grand Slam came first, but cost considerations being what they were...

So the Tall Boy was developed to take care of lesser targets.

Now, does anyone think the Grand Slam (capable of penetrating 90' of earth when dropped from the Lancaster) would be at all useful in Iraq? Can you say, "bunkers under all those presidential palaces!"?

Yeah, I thought you could. Is there any chance of such a cheap, easily manufactured weapon actually being used? No. No money to be made by the arms industry. It doesn't need any GPS or electroinics to be quite accurate. It's quite capable of destroying things that we can't touch with our current smart bombs, curis missles, or anything else.

But you can't patent the thing, and there sure isn't any research" funding available.

Which is a crime in my book.

March 10, 2003, 05:15 PM
I'd like to etch my name on that thing.

March 10, 2003, 05:24 PM
Possess a certain elegance and simplicity that we've managed to ignore in our scurry-about world.

Ahh simplicity! Tonic for the troubled mind.

March 10, 2003, 05:33 PM
Sodapop, I can hear you now, talking to some sweet, unsuspecting young thing - "Now THIS etching you've REALLY gotta see!" :D

I still think the best comment so far has been rick458's "Human shield THIS!" :D :D :D

March 11, 2003, 01:16 AM
Yeah, I heard they were going to detonate one of them today, and video tape it for the Iraqis.


March 11, 2003, 02:23 AM
This is what a dummy MOAB does when dropped in the back flats of Ft. Stewart GA.

Keep in mind this is only a trainer (meaning it weighs the same for testing payloads and such)

March 11, 2003, 02:34 AM
From that, I guess even a dud would be bad news!
I beleive the BLU 82s were developed for the B 36 which had a big enough bomb bay to carry them. When I first heard about MOAB I thought maybe they had reshaped and resized the Daisycutter to fit the B 52.
Still, with GPS guidance, a C 17 should do a good enough job of delivery!

March 11, 2003, 04:27 AM
need to double up on hearing protection if that thing dropped very close

March 11, 2003, 09:36 AM
Dude, if the thing dropped very close, hearing protection would NOT be your problem!


March 11, 2003, 10:33 AM
This bomb will be tested this week in Florida - I received this via the API List from the area:

"Eglin Air Force Base will test a large bomb today on its western range. Residents from Crestview to Navarre can expect to hear a large boom sometime between noon and 5 pm.

Elgin officials would not confirm it, but a Pentagon official said the base was planning the first test this week of the 21,000 pound "massive ordnance air burst" bomb. The "monster bomb's" explosive blast is so massive it is similar to a small nuclear weapon, though the damage from it is much less.

The boom is supposed to sound like a thunder clap or a slamming door. Because wind currents affect sound waves, some residents might hear the boom more intensely, and others may not hear it at all.

Eglin officials said they are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of surrounding communities. The test would only be conducted under "optimum" weather conditions to minimize its impact.

If the weather doesn't cooperate, Thursday is the backup date for the test.

Few detail are available on the bomb. but Glorida Cakles with Air Force Headquarters at the Pentagon said it is an updated version of the 15,000 pound Daisy Cutter, first used into he Vietnam War to clear Helicopter landing Zones.

News of the test has worried some residents and excited others.

"Two or three of my friends talked about going over to watch it--from a distance" said Brandon Hamilton, 29, of Pensacola. "Or we will just sit back in our House and grill Hamburgers and feel it."


Why do I get the impression there aren't many anti-war protesters there? :D

March 11, 2003, 02:43 PM
Intresting, we're getting so anxious to blow something up, we're going to bomb ourselves!

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