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11 Sep, 2007 23:28

Russia tests `world's most powerful bomb`

The Russian military says it has successfully tested the world's most powerful non-nuclear bomb. The device is said to be as potent as an atomic explosion, but without the radioactive fallout. Until now, the U.S. had the most powerful vacuum bomb, which w

It was tested in 2003 at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

There’s no information about where or when the Russian bomb was tested.

The Russian military has dubbed its version the “father of all bombs”.  It is claimed the bomb is smaller and lighter, yet four times more powerful than the U.S. version.

Senior military figures are pleased with the results of the trials. 

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These are fuel-air explosives, designed to generate intense blast pressure over a large area. It is reported that the Russian bomb is a so called thermo baric bomb that produces both blast and heat. The Russian military has been a pioneer in the development and use of these thermo baric weapons. This would have to be one of the largest deliverable, droppable bombs in the military history.

John Pike, Director, Global Security Org.
“Tests show its effectiveness and capabilities are comparable to nuclear weapons. At the same time, use of this weapon doesn’t damage or pollute the environment, like a nuclear weapon would,” says General Colonel Aleksandr Rukshin, Deputy Chief of Staff.

Also known as the vacuum bomb, it uses a fuel-air explosive more powerful than TNT. 

“It allows us to reduce accuracy requirements, which makes it cheaper. But it’s still a quality modern weapon,” said Yury Batylko, a head of Department at the Defence Ministry Research Institute.

The bomb explodes in mid-air and its destructive power comes from extremely high temperatures and aftershocks, which incinerate everything nearby.

Powerful fuel-air bombs scorch the earth over a wide area, leaving it looking like the surface of the moon. 

The Defence Ministry says its development does not break any of Russia's international arms agreements. It also insists the development of the bomb does not mean the start of a new arms race.

“It will allow us to maintain the country’s security and to confront international terrorism in any setting and in any region,” said General Colonel Rukshin.

According to the military, the new weapon will replace several smaller types of nuclear bombs in its arsenal.

“Actually, the Soviet forces used vacuum bombs, the predecessor of this one, on a smaller scale in Afghanistan. As a matter of fact, it turned out to be some of the most effective ordnance against mujahideen when used as a cave-buster,” Evgeny Khrushchev, military analyst, Moscow.