The MOAB, or Mother Of All Bombs, was developed by Albert L. Weimonts, Jr. at the Air Force Research Laboratory for the United States military. When it was first developed, it was the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the arsenal of the United States. It’s delivered by a C-130 Hercules, designed specifically for the MC-130E Combat Talon I or MC-130H Combat Talon II variants.
It was first used in April 2017 on the 13th during combat against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant). It was used as an airstrike against ISIL militants located in Afghanistan.
In basic operation, the MOAB draws some similarities to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, used to clear wooded areas in the Vietnam War. It was also used in Afghanistan in November 2001 against the Taliban. The Daisy Cutter’s successful intimidation was what initially encouraged development of the MOAB. The MOAB is not designed to be a penetrator weapon and is actually used as an air burst ordnance. It’s intended for medium and soft surface targets that cover large areas. It also works for targets in a contained environment, like in a cave system or deep canyon.
The MOAB is designed to be used against a specific target. It was first tested in March 2003 on Range 70 at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. They tested it again in November 2003, and to date, 15 MOABs have been produced at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma. The cost is unknown, however, since initial manufacturing used many already purchased parts, but it was estimated at the time to be around $170,000.