The ‘Super Bomb’: More financials

After my recent post about the cost of using cruise missiles in Syria, the Americans have now used a ‘MOAB’. This is a ‘Super Bomb’, nicknamed ‘The Mother of All Bombs’, a corruption of the bomb’s acronym, which stands for ‘Massive Ordnance Air Blast’. The actual designation of the device is GBU/43B, which doesn’t float well as a headline in quite the same way, does it?

This enormous explosive device is the biggest non-nuclear weapon ever detonated, according to some reports. However, during WW2, slightly larger bombs weighing 22,000 lbs were used and known as ‘Grand Slams’. The MOAB was developed at a cost of an estimated $300,000,000. This also included the cost of the 20 bombs delivered. Each one is estimated to have cost $16,000,000, and the logistical costs involved in the deployment and delivery this week are believed to be close to $1,000,000.

On this occasion, I will refrain from speculating what better use could have been made of that money. However, it is worth looking at the result. The bomb detonated just above a tunnel complex, believed to be used by insurgent fighters in the region. The blast could be felt almost two miles away, but reports say that no civilians were injured. The claim is that 36 fighters were killed by the bomb, confirmed by Afghan soldiers, and US Special Forces personnel on the ground.

The sum is simple enough. $17,000,000 divided by 36 = $472,222. That’s what it cost to kill each man in that tunnel complex. Current estimates agree that ISIS has around 20,000 fighters in Syria alone. Other sources estimate that the Taliban has a force in excess of 35,000 operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. So, if we use the same cost basis to destroy every one of those 55,000 remaining soldiers, we are left with a pretty big bill, one that America has to fund. $25,972,221. (Yes, almost 26 BILLION dollars)

Compared to the cost of the cruise missile attack that only killed six people, that’s very good value, I suppose. A bargain.



  1. fragglerocking

    What with the 59 Tomahawks and now this, that’s an awful lot of expensive ordnance for very little return. If these are warning shots across the bows to Russia, North Korea Assad & Isis, I don’t think they’re very effective and won’t change their strategies.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doug (

    Not sure I understand the extremely high unit cost. I mean, the damn thing relies on gravity.. it’s a bomb, not a missile. It has no propellant motor, no guidance system other than some GPS maneuvering like a smart bomb, but that’s only until the parachute opens(?). So are we saying here most of it’s millions in cost goes into the 20,000+ pounds of some super exotic high explosive? Um… ?

    Each time there is an “exciting” munitions drop by the military somewhere in the world there will be armchair strategists (like myself) second guessing the military on cost effectiveness of each strike. In the end one can’t constantly question everything the government does like some right wing conspiracy theorist. You have to trust someone… otherwise go find another country because obviously you will never be happy. But still… just spit-balling here off the top of my head, I am thinking that $319 million might have been used to pay off some of Assad’s close-in military to overthrow (or just plain kill) him. I’m all for spending tons of cash to affect regime changes rather than fight.

    I also read that the MOAB is truly not the largest conventional in our arsenal. There’s some 30,000 pound bunker buster, developed during the Iraq war, that has yet to be used. This thing apparently burrows into the ground then explodes. Being just an armchair critic, it seems to me that we would have had better effect taking out underground Isis caves using a bunker buster than an air burst MOAB. But, hey.. what do I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Doug (

      This begs my next solution regarding North Korea. At the nuke test site.. we send over a lone cargo plane, let it drop out an EMPTY MOAB so that they can watch it land with a feeling of impending doom. Then when it doesn’t explode they can run over to it excited about America sending a dud that they can use against us later. They open the thing up, activating a video camera direct to the internet, catching their expressions and Korean jibberish audio, and inside is a handwritten note on White House stationary, “BOOM” “The next one will be real”, signed by Trump.
      Now.. if Trump would do that I would take back each and every bad thing I’ve ever said about Trump… and support my local Congressman to present a bill to have his face carved on Mt. Rushmore.

      Liked by 2 people

    • beetleypete

      Perhaps the MOAB makes better TV than the bunker buster? There is talk of the Russians having a bomb four times larger than a MOAB. I wonder what that cost? As for living in another country, I already do! 🙂
      The DPRK situation is very different of course. America’s ally, South Korea, is a little too close for comfort, I feel.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  3. lobotero

    There is a reason that the defense “budget” is pretty much a secret…they do not want the American people to know the price of things….and the media runs interference for the Pentagon….good post my friend….chuq

    Liked by 1 person

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