- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla., March 11 (UPI) — The U.S. Air Force successfully tested its 21,000-pound MOAB monster bomb for the first time Tuesday in a remote western area of Eglin Air Force Base, a base spokeswoman confirmed.

"We understand it successful. It did detonate," civilian spokeswoman Lois Walsh said. "As far as noise complaints we have not gotten any so far."

Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, did not rule out use of the MOAB, or "massive ordnance air blast" bomb, in a war with Iraq.

"Anything we have in our arsenal at almost any stage of development could be used," Myers said. "The message here is we are going to try to improve our conventional weapons."

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld deadpanned, "This is not small," and did not downplay its potential impact on the attitude of Iraqi troops.

"There is a psychological component to all aspects of warfare," Rumsfeld said.

The MOAB's explosive blast is so massive it is similar to a small nuclear weapon, although he damage is much less, the Pensacola News-Journal reported.

Known to many as "the mother of all bombs," it is the biggest non-nuclear bomb in United States' arsenal.

It was dropped by a C-130 cargo plane and guided by satellite at about 2 p.m. EST.

The Air Force said it is an updated version of the 15,000-pound Daisy Cutter, first used in the Vietnam War to clear helicopter landing zones.

The Daisy Cutter was nicknamed Commando Vault in Vietnam and Daisy Cutter when it was used in Afghanistan. Although it was designed to clear the jungle of foliage, but it was used in Afghanistan as an anti-personnel weapon and for intimidation — as will be the case for the MOAB.

The Daisy Cutter has a lethal radius reported at from 300 to 900 feet, but there are no such estimates for the MOAB, although the area is believed to be significantly wider.

Residents of the area were warned of the plans for the explosion Monday and told that all precautions would be taken to assure their safety.




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