The MOAB discussion

If anything has become apparent in the last few days on social media, it is that Americans suck at math.


Just a friendly reminder, Little Boy, the enriched uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima, was 15 Kilotons equivalent. The “kilo” in Kilotons is very, very important.

The GBU-43/B, which is full of Composition H6, which has a 1.35 RE (or relative effectiveness to TNT), is accurately about 11 tons equivalent.

Which is greater, 15,000 or 11? Pretty obvious when I put is plainly like that.

Now, realize that Little Boy was essentially a trial run, a working prototype, and was one of the least efficient atomic bombs ever created with a less than 2% fission efficiency. To drop enough MOABs to equal the energy of Little Boy, you would have to drop 1,363 of them, and at 16 million per ten MOABs that’s a 2.182 Billion dollars not including any costs associated with 1,363 mission sorties (honestly the cost per system is going to vary quite a bit, depending on lot size order and other factors, I’ve seen it as low as 160,000 per unit).

Did we absolutely need to use a MOAB? No. But was it the right choice to use against a large, unknown layout, well defended cave complex? Most likely.

If you dropped a MOAB into a major city, it would likely rubble a few buildings and knock out a whole bunch of windows, the death count would be high, but probably along the lines of something between Oklahoma City and 9/11. Dropping something like Little Boy on a city is still the stuff of nightmares, and the death toll would be estimated only because complete traces of people would be erased from the face of the earth.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s