(photo credit: AP/ Russian Channel One Television)
The Russian military has successfully tested what it described as the world's most powerful non-nuclear air-delivered bomb, Russia's state television reported Tuesday, the latest show of the nation's military muscle amid chilly relations with the United States.
Channel One television said the new ordnance, nicknamed the "dad of all bombs" is four times more powerful than the US "mother of all bombs."
"The tests have shown that the new air-delivered ordnance is comparable to a nuclear weapon in its efficiency and capability," Col.-Gen. Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian military's General Staff, said in televised remarks. Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb does not pose an environmental threat from the release of radiation, he added.
The statement reflected the Kremlin's efforts to restore Russia's global clout and rebuild the nation's military might. The muscle-flexing comes at a time when ties with Washington have become strained over US criticism of Russia's backsliding on democracy, Moscow's vociferous protests against US missile defense plans and rifts over global crises.
The US Massive Ordnance Air Blast, nicknamed the Mother Of All Bombs, a large-yield satellite-guided, air delivered bomb, had been described as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in history.
Channel One said that while the Russian bomb contains about 7 tons of high explosives compared with more than 8 tons of explosives in the US bomb, it's four times more powerful because it uses a new, highly efficient type of explosives developed with the use of nanotechnology. The report did not identify the explosives.
While the American bomb is equivalent to 11 tons of TNT, the Russian one is equivalent to 44 tons of regular explosives. The Russian weapon's blast radius is 300 meters, or 990 feet, twice as big as that of the US design, the report said.
Like its US predecessor, first tested in 2003, the Russian "dad of all bombs" is a so-called thermobaric weapon that explodes in an intense fireball combined with a devastating blast. It explodes in a terrifying nuclear bomb-like mushroom cloud and wreaks destruction through a massive shockwave created by the air burst and high temperature.
Channel One said that the temperature in the epicenter of the Russian bomb's explosion is twice as high as that of the US bomb.
The report showed the bomb dropping by parachute from a Tu-160 strategic bomber and exploding in a massive fireball. It featured the debris of apartment buildings and armored vehicles at a testing range, as well as ground burnt by a massive explosion.
It didn't give the bomb's military name or say when it was tested.
Rukshin said the new bomb would allow the military to "protect the nation's security and confront international terrorism in any situation and any region."
"We have got a relatively cheap ordnance with a high striek power," Yuri Balyko, head of department at the Defense Ministry's institute in charge of weapons design, said on Channel One.
Booming oil prices have allowed Russia to steadily increase military spending in recent years, and the Kremlin has taken an increasingly assertive posture in global affairs.
Last month, Putin said he ordered a resumption of regular patrol flights of strategic bombers that had been suspended after the 1991 Soviet breakup.