The Chinese military has released footage showing the successful testing of the country’s version to the U.S. GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast (MOAB).
According to the state-owned news agency Global Times, earlier this week, the People’s Liberation Army Air Force and the Chinese defense giant North Industries Group Corporation Limited (NORINCO) successfully tested a powerful bomb. Chinese officials claim that its destructive capabilities are second only to a nuclear munition.
The footage, which was recorded sometime in late December, shows an H-6K bomber releasing a huge bomb that is about five to six meters long. The promotional video was released by NORINCO. A company spokesperson stated it is not a thermobaric weapon, meaning, it doesn’t use oxygen from the surrounding air to produce a high-temperature blast. Conventional bombs use a mixture of gunpowder and fuel to explode, but thermobaric munitions use only fuel.
China's arms industry giant NORINCO for the first time showcased a new type of massive aerial bomb, which it dubbed the Chinese version of the "Mother of All Bombs" due to its huge destruction potential that is claimed to be only second to nuclear weapons. https://t.co/Xwa470K0R5 pic.twitter.com/bWDvmfvcyk
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) January 3, 2019
“The massive blast can easily and completely wipe out fortified ground targets such as reinforced buildings, bastions and defense shelters,” said Wei Dongxu, a Chinese military analyst, to the Chinese news outlet. He added that it could also clear beaches or other areas of obstacles to enable troops to land or insert quickly.
Comparing it to the American GBU-43/B, Wei said the Chinese version is smaller but equally destructive. He added that its more compact size enables the bomb to be loaded on a bomber instead of a transport aircraft. The U.S. munition is so large that it has to be carried by a C-130-type aircraft, usually an MC-130 Combat Talon. The difference is that a bomber can usually fly faster and is more flexible than a transport aircraft.
The H-6K is the Chinese version of the Soviet Tupolev-16 jet bomber. As a strategic bomber, it’s capable of launching cruise missiles and conventional payloads. The Chinese military has about 120 H-6Ks in its arsenal.
The U.S. military first dropped the GBU-43/B in 2017 against an ISIS underground complex in the Achin district of Nangarhar province, Afghanistan. The American bomb is almost 20-feet-long and weighs 21,600 pounds. It is GPS-guided and can penetrate 200 feet of dirt or 60 feet of concrete before exploding. It’s the largest non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. military’s arsenal. Following the release of footage showing the destructive capabilities of the U.S. bomb, people were quick to use its initials (MOAB) to dub the aerial ordnance as the “Mother of All Bombs.”