Russia tests ‘father of all bombs’
Moscow, September 12
The bomb is the latest in a series of new Russian weapons and policy moves as President Vladimir Putin tries to reassert Moscow's role on the international stage.
''Test results of the new airborne weapon have shown that its efficiency and power is commensurate with a nuclear weapon,'' Alexander Rukshin, Russian deputy armed forces chief of staff, told Russia's state ORT First Channel television yesterday. The same report was later shown on the state-sponsored Vesti channel.
''You will now see it in action, the bomb which has no match in the world is being tested at a military site.''
It showed a Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bomber dropping the bomb over a testing ground. A large explosion followed.
Pictures showed what looked like a flattened multi-storey block of flats surrounded by scorched soil and boulders. ''The soil looks like a lunar landscape,'' the report said.
''The defence ministry stresses this military invention does not contradict a single international treaty. Russia is not unleashing a new arms race.''
The report said the new bomb was much stronger than the U.S.-built Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb — MOAB, also known under its name ''Mother of all bombs''. ''So, Russian designers called the new weapon 'Father of all bombs','' it said.
Showing the orange-painted US prototype, the report said the Russian bomb was four times more powerful — 44 tonnes of TNT equivalent — and the temperature at the epicentre of its blast was two times higher.
In 1999 Russian generals threatened to use vacuum bombs to wipe out rebels from the mountains in its restive Chechnya province. — Reuters