Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Home of the MOAB

"Prior to the Iraq War, it was decided in 2002 the old BLU-82 Daisy Cutter needed a face lift. Something with satellite guidance bomb and a larger and more explosive payload."

Every time I travel down to northwest Florida, I am taken aback by not only the settlement history which runs deep and wide, but also the military presence and the history they brought to the area. Now being a Navy guy, I am attracted to the Naval Air Station and Corry Field like a moth to a flame. I was stationed at Corry twice. I did some reserve duty there. I have great and lasting memories of my Navy time in this area.

Not to be myopic about the strong Navy presence down here, there is also a very important Air Force presence here also. Only it is down the coast a ways close to Fort Walton Beach. Eglin Air Force Base performs numerous very important functions to strengthen our nation's defense and security. But one of the one things I find the most fascinating are the mega bombs which are tested there. And it all started with the Daisy Cutter in Viet Nam.

The Daisy Cutter is a large, very powerful conventional bomb. How large? About 15,000 pounds. It is so big, it has to be delivered via a C-130 aircraft. The purpose - to flatten a large area of jungle or woods large enough to allow helicopters to deliver troops to a combat zone. Once the bomb was developed, it was tested at the bombing range at Eglin. For the people in nearby Valparaiso, Florida, that testing must have resulted in some sizable wake up calls.

During the Gulf War, the Daisy Cutter (also known as the BLU-82) was still in our inventory and ready to go. It was thought by some it would have been appropriate to use what was now referred to as the "Mother Of All Bombs (MOAB) against Saddam Hussein in what Saddam referred to as the "Mother of all Battles." But it was never used.

Prior to the Iraq War, it was decided in 2002 the old BLU-82 Daisy Cutter needed a face lift. Something with satellite guidance bomb and a larger and more explosive payload. So the GBU-43/b was developed. Still referred to by many as the MOAB, this bomb has also never been used in anger. However, it has been tested at Eglin. The weight jumped up to 21,700 pounds, and contrary to the belief of some, it is not a fuel/air explosive bomb. Just a nasty combination of some very volatile chemicals.

One interesting footnote to this story. After we developed the GBU-43/b, the Russians were not to be outdone. (So they say), they developed a similar bomb which is four times bigger. And - they call it the "Father Of All Bombs". I can't imagine the type of aircraft needed to deliver this thing (if their claim is true). 

In any event, lots of stuff has happened and is happening down in northwest Florida. I have a feeling our new President, by wanting to grow our military, is going to have a big stimulus effect down here. Good. We need to get back to where we were. And the folks down here love the military - and the jobs which come with it. 

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