Can Putin use his Foab?
It's called Avbpm and is four times as powerful as the Moab. It’s Russian the world’s most powerful non-nuclear weapon. So much so that the Americans called it Foab, Father Of All Bombs. Can Putin decide to use it?
- Thursday, 20 April 2017
In the “who has the biggest” contest, Trump is not the winner. This was noted by experts almost immediately after the American Moab hit a target in Afghanistan. The winner is Putin, with his "Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power", in the Russian acronym Avbpm. It has a power in tons of Tnt four times higher than the American Gbu-43, a destructive radius of 300 meters versus 150, and its blast burns at a temperature as high as twice the Moab. In commenting on the destructive power, chief of the Russian general staff Alexandr Rukshin reportedly said that "all that is alive within its scope of action simply evaporates".
But what most of the media called “Putin's response to Trump” has nothing to do with the fact that Moab was first used a few days ago.
The Foab had made its appearance in 2007, causing some clamor. Now, all eyes are back on it.
A new era of super-bombs has begun? Can really Putin decide to use a Foab?
It is not such a remote hypothesis. During the first moves in Russian intervention in Syria, the Kremlin had been demonstrating its ability to hit at distance and with precision by launching Kalibr missiles from four corvette in the Caspian Sea, more than a thousand kilometers away. It was a costly and seemingly useless action, since the same result could be obtained by launching missiles from their base aircraft in Latakia. The propaganda effect, however, had paid off the Kremlin expenses: it was clear to all how Russia could hit long-range target with conventional weapons.
That's exactly what happened with Trump's Moab. He got the same effect on the soil of a dozen Tomahawk, but he launched a clear message to the rest of the world. That is, the US can use brute force without breaking the nuclear taboo.
It’s not unlikely to say that after the launch of the Moab, the Kremlin has a reason more - and a lot of remorse less - to use its own Foab. Maybe not today, but the stem was raised. The use of atomic, even tactical, weapon would lead to strong international rejection. In fact the strength of the nuclear arsenal is in deterrence.
The thermobaric bomb has a destructive power comparable to a small atom, but without the radiation. An explosion of muscular power that destroys everything within a 300m radius but does not generate any fall out.
If Putin decides use it, he could count on the American precedent to shake off any international condemnation. The point is, however, in areas of Russian military intervention, from Ukraine to Syria, there are no targets that could justify the use of such a powerful bomb. In other words, the point it is not that Putin cannot use his Foab, he simply does not know where to drop it.