Israeli media is reporting that defense officials plan to soon obtain the “mother of all bombs” or a MOAB from the United States.
The GBU-43/B Massive Ordinance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) is the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the US arsenal, which over recent years has seen occasional use in Afghanistan against ISIS, Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists. It’s especially brought in as a bunker-buster when smaller conventional munitions can’t dislodge enemy combatants.
Sales of the MOAB to Israel is expected to be put before the House on Friday in a bipartisan bill – part of the newly enacted policy of the US assisting Israeli in its “military edge” over Arab countries in the region. If passed it would pave the way for Israel eventually being able to obtain the massive weapon.
Last week Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met at the Pentagon and signed a joint declaration affirming Washington’s commitment to ensure Israel’s ‘Qualitative Military Edge’. This after Israeli officials expressed concern that the latest US-brokered peace deals between Tel Aviv and Arab countries – so far including UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan – would open up their countries further to obtaining high-tech American military hardware.
Friday’s expected legislation is being spearheaded by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Brian Mast (D-FL), with Gottheimer putting out a statement saying the bill will “help shore-up Israel’s QME in the region and secure both of our countries from the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.”
Footage of MOAB dropped over Afghanistan:
Current US federal law actually forbids the sale of bunker busters to foreign countries, thus Israel would be the first if the bill is passed. It’s also banned under the New START treaty with Russia, which however unless it is renewed is set to expire early next year.
Israel sees the MOAB as crucial in a future scenario where it could potentially take out Iranian underground nuclear facilities, but an Israeli Air Force aircraft capable of transporting it in a combat situation is another lingering unknown given its huge dimensions and weight.