BEIJING, April 14 -- The U.S. military on Thursday dropped a GBU-43, or Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, on an Islamic State (IS) cave complex in Afghanistan, killing at least 36 suspected IS militants and producing a mushroom cloud visible from 32 km away.
It was the first time that the U.S. military has used in combat such a bomb, dubbed the "Mother of All Bombs," a smart re-interpretation of the initials MOAB.
The bomb weighs about 9.5 tons, with 8.2 tons of explosives filled. Its destructive power depends on the formula of the explosives, and it can be eight times as powerful when filled with specific explosives.
Experts say that the bomb's munition is not ordinary one, but high-energy fuel which is more effective when used to hit hideouts like caves and tunnels.
Meanwhile, the bomb can consume a large quantity of oxygen in the air when it explodes, thus suffocating personnel nearby to death, they say.
The bomb is designed to hit soft targets such as surface facilities, tunnel entrances and troop concentrations. It is dropped by aircraft, guided to its target by Global Positioning System and slowed by a parachute.
MOAB was first tested in March 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. Since 2003, such bombs have been manufactured in the southern state of Oklahoma.