Father of All Bombs

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"The Father of All Bombs" (FOAB)
FOAB schematic
Place of originRussia
Production history
DesignerRussian Armed Forces
Mass7,100 kg (15,650 lb)[citation needed]

FillingHigh explosive and fine aluminium powder and ethylene oxide mix.[citation needed]
Blast yield44 t (97,000 lb) of TNT

Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power (ATBIP),[a] nicknamed "Father of All Bombs" (FOAB; Russian: "Папа всех бомб", Пвб[b]), is a Russian-designed, bomber-delivered thermobaric weapon.

This weapon was claimed to be the most powerful conventional (non-nuclear) weapon in the world, more powerful than GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast, which is often unofficially called "Mother of All Bombs" or MOAB.[1][2]

FOAB was successfully field-tested in the late evening of 11 September 2007.[3] As of 2022 it was the sole known test of this weapon and its details are still undisclosed.[4]


Fireball blast from the Russian "Father of All Bombs", with the beginnings of a mushroom cloud

The FOAB device allegedly yields the equivalent of 44 tons of TNT using about seven tons of a new type of high explosive. Because of this, the bomb's blast and pressure wave have a similar effect to a small tactical nuclear weapon.[5] The bomb works by detonating in mid-air. Thermobaric weapons differ from conventional explosive weapons in that they generate a longer, more sustained blast wave with greater temperatures. In doing so, they produce more damage over a larger area than a conventional weapon of similar mass.[1]

According to General Aleksandr Rukshin, the Russian Deputy Chief of the General Staff, the new bomb was smaller than the MOAB but much deadlier because the temperature at the centre of the blast is twice as high.[3][6][7]

Analysis and veracity[edit]

Some defense analysts question both the yield of the bomb and whether it could be deployed by a Tupolev Tu-160 bomber. A report by Wired[8] says photos and the video of the event suggest that it is designed to be deployed from the rear of a slow moving cargo plane, and they note that the bomb-test video released by the Russians never shows both the bomb and the bomber in the same camera shot. There are also questions on what type of explosives it used. They quoted Tom Burky, a senior research scientist at Battelle, saying "It's not even clear what kind of weapon the Russians tested." He questions if it was what some experts call a fuel-air explosive or if it was a thermobaric weapon. "Fuel-air and thermobaric bombs differ in usefulness". Burky says that the weapon depicted in the video appears to be a fuel-air explosive, based on its shape.[8]

Weapons analyst Sascha Lange of German SWP speaking at Deutsche Welle pointed out multiple discrepancies in the released Russian video and expressed his skepticism about the Russian claim.[9]

John Pike, an analyst at the think tank GlobalSecurity, says he believes the weapon is roughly as powerful as the Russians claim. What he does not necessarily believe is that the weapon is new. He says the Russians have possessed a range of thermobaric weapons for at least four decades.[8]

Robert Hewson, an editor for Jane's Information Group, told the BBC it was likely that FOAB indeed represented the world's biggest non-nuclear bomb. "You can argue about the numbers and how you scale this but the Russians have a long and proven history of developing weapons in the thermobaric class", he says.[8][5]

UPI claimed the device "would enormously boost Russia's conventional military capabilities".[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Russian: Авиационная вакуумная бомба повышенной мощности (АВБПМ), romanized as Aviatsonnaya vakuumaya bomba povyshennoy moshchnosti (AVBPM) or scientifically transliterated as Aviacionnaja vakuumaja povyšennoj bomba moščnosti.
  2. ^ Transliterated as Papa vsekh bomb (PVB)


  1. ^ a b Luke Harding (2007-09-12). "Russia unveils the 'father of all bombs'". London: Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  2. ^ Gigova, Radina (2017-04-20). "Meet the Russian 'father of all bombs'". CNN. Retrieved 2023-09-17.
  3. ^ a b Ilya Kramnik (2007-09-12). Кузькин отец … [On 11 September 2007, the most powerful non-nuclear bomb was tested in Russia] (in Russian). Lenta.ru. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  4. ^ "Domestic volumetric-detonating bombs". Archived from the original on 2024-03-25. Retrieved 2024-04-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) (in Russian) [better source needed]
  5. ^ a b "Russia tests giant fuel-air bomb". BBC News. 2007-09-12. Retrieved 2008-03-18.
  6. ^ Adrian Blomfield (2007-09-12). "Russian army 'tests the father of all bombs'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 2007-10-13. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  7. ^ Российская вакуумная бомба сравнима по мощности с ядерным боеприпасом [A Russian vacuum bomb is comparable in power to a nuclear weapon]. newsribbon.ru (in Russian). 2007-09-12. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-12.
  8. ^ a b c d e "Did Russia Stage the Father of All Bombs Hoax?". Wired.com. October 4, 2007. Archived from the original on 2014-08-19. Retrieved 2007-10-04.
  9. ^ "Questionable Claims". Deutsche Welle. 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2024-03-25.