Proliferation Press

A webpage devoted to tracking and analyzing current events related to the proliferation of WMD/CBRN.

The Russian Big Bang: World’s Largest Non-Nuke Bomb Tested

Posted by K.E. White on September 12, 2007

(Update: Wired questions the significance of the testing)

Russia announced earlier today it had successfully tested a conventional bomb with the same destructive power of a low-yield nuclear weapon:

The bomb was filmed being dropped from a strategic bomber and exploding into a massive fireball. It then showed the after-effects of the bomb’s wrath – debris from apartment buildings and armoured vehicles at the testing range, and a huge burnt spot in the ground.

Russia‘s big bomb is reportedly four times more powerful than the US’s Massive Ordnance Air Blast, which is nicknamed the “mother of all bombs.” Russia’s would be suitable for targeting specific areas more accurately than nuclear bombs, and is considered an immediate threat to “problem” areas such as Chechnya. (Cleveland Leader)

Interestingly the Cleveland Leader article leads out one aspect of the test that The Times of India leads with in their coverage:

The vacuum bomb tested by Russia on Wednesday is said to be less harmful on the environment than a nuclear bomb.

Alexander Rukshin, Russian deputy armed forces chief of staff, said: “I want to stress that the action of this weapon does not contaminate the environment, in contrast to a nuclear one.”

The Times of India also reports that this thermoberic weapon beats out America’s own thermoberic big bomb:

Showing the orange-painted US prototype, the report said the Russian bomb was four times more powerful – 44 metric tons of TNT equivalent – and the temperature at the epicenter of its blast was twice as high.

US forces have used a ‘thermobaric’ bomb, which works on similar principles, in their campaign against Al Qaida and Taliban forces in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. reports on America’s use of thermobaric technology for non-nuclear bunker buster weapons:

Thermobaric munitions have been used by many nations of the world and their proliferation is an indication of how effectively these weapons can be used in urban and complex terrain. The ability of thermobaric weapons to provide massed heat and pressure effects at a single point in time cannot be reproduced by conventional weapons without massive collateral destruction. Thermobaric weapon technologies provide the commander a new choice in protecting the force, and a new offensive weapon that can be used in a mounted or dismounted mode against complex environments.

The Thermobaric [TB] Weapon Demonstration will develop a weapon concept that is based on a new class of solid fuel-air explosive thermobarics. The weapon could be used against a certain type of tunnel targets for a maximum functional kill of the tunnels.

Most of the Hard and/or Deeply Buried Targets (HDBTs), namely tunnels in rock, are so deep that the developmental and current inventory weapons cannot penetrate to sufficient depths to directly destroy critical assets. One of the warfighter’s options is to attack the tunnel portals with weapons that penetrate the thinner layer of rock above the portal, or though the exterior doors, resulting in a detonation within the tunnel system. Penetrations through the door systems have the potential to place the warheads deep within the facility. Detonations within a tunnel, even only in a few diameters, have a significant increase in airblast propagation into the facility compared to external detonations. Tunnel layouts range from long, straight tunnels to various types of intersections, expansions, constrictions, chambers, rooms, alcoves, and multiple levels. All of these configurations affect the propagation of airblast.

4 Responses to “The Russian Big Bang: World’s Largest Non-Nuke Bomb Tested”

  1. […] asks in an article published today. The article explores the actual significance of Russia’s recent ‘father of all bombs’ missile test. And it even offers reasons not to fret over the return of Russia’s Cold War era nuclear […]

  2. […] asks in an article published today. The article explores the actual significance of Russia’s recent ‘father of all bombs’ missile test. And it even offers reasons not to fret over the return of Russia’s Cold War era nuclear […]

  3. alk09 said

    I know that Dr. Andrei Shoumikhin is an expert in the Russian Arms Proliferation. He’s going to be on this Radio Blog show on Wednesday the 6th. He’s going to be talking about a bunch of different topics like this, Electromagnetic Pulse and other super important things that I feel like us civilians NEED to prepare for. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

  4. beautiful Russian…

    […]The Russian Big Bang: World’s Largest Non-Nuke Bomb Tested « Proliferation Press[…]…

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