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Russia tests 'father of all bombs'
Rediff News Bureau | September 12, 2007 11:59 IST
Last Updated: September 12, 2007 12:46 IST
As part of its heightened push to regain military parity with Western powers, especially the United States, Russia [Images] has tested what military experts are calling the `father of all bombs'.
Its specs indicate that it is the largest, most powerful non-nuclear bomb in existence. The weapon is a vacuum device that, on impact, emits shock waves that match the power of a nuclear explosion, but without the fall out.
The weapon was carried on a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber, which dropped the payload over a pre-selected testing ground, agencies report.
The ordnance, which is yet to be officially named, is rated as four times more powerful than the United States' Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb (MOAB), which when it was unveiled two years ago was dubbed the `mother of all bombs'.
The US claimed at the time that the MOAB could destroy nine city blocks at one strike. General Alexander Rushkin, Russia's deputy chief of staff, is quoted as saying the new bomb is smaller, but considerably more lethal, than the American version.
The full results of the test have not been released for public consumption; however, working off available data, experts conclude that the Russians have used nanotechnology to increase the temperatures at the epicenter of the blast.
Rushkin confirmed that analysis, when he told the media that the test results conclude that its efficiency and power is commensurate with a nuclear weapon.
`The main destruction is inflicted by an ultrasonic shockwave and incredibly high temperatures,' he is quoted as saying.
Advanced military powers have been working on such ordnance for a while now. The US first deployed the `Daisy Cutter' (the BLU-82, to give it the official name), a non-nuclear explosive device that was employed in the mountains of the Tora Bora region of Afghanistan, during the 2001 war with the Taliban.
The advantage of such ordnance is that it devastates buildings and personnel in the target zone, without however leaving behind any lethal fallout as in a nuclear explosion.
Thus, such weapons help the military in urban warfare, permitting the strategists to target strikes on areas with a high concentration of the enemy, devastate the region and then send in conventional forces to secure the area - a process that would not be possible if nuclear weapons were used.
Besides being a major development in military R&D, the Russian test plays against a larger storyline of President Vladimir Putin's [Images] belligerent anti-West stand.
Putin has quadrupled defense spending since he took charge, and announced a further 100-million-pound program to modernize the military.
Four weeks ago, Putin ordered his long range nuclear bombers to patrol international airspace. Since then, Tupolev's have repeatedly approached British air space and flown close to US military installations.
Almost synchronous with the bomb test, Russian Space Forces launched a Kosmos-3M rocket carrying a next generation military satellite, from the Plesetsk Space Center Tuesday.
The satellite joins the Russian military satellite constellation and will serve the purposes of the country's defense ministry.