Russia has tested the “Father of all bombs,” a conventional air-delivered explosive that experts say can only be compared with a nuclear weapon in terms of its destructive power.
The device is a fuel-air explosive, commonly known as a vacuum bomb, that spreads a high incendiary vapour cloud over a wide area and then ignites it, creating an ultra-sonic shock wave and searing fireball that destroys everything in its wake.
A Russian state TV showed the test site, which "looked like a lunar landscape", including the shattered remains of a town, following the blast at an undisclosed location recently.
'The results of tests of the aviation explosive device have shown that it is comparable with nuclear weapons in its efficiency and potential," armed forces deputy chief of staff Alexander Rukshin told journalists.
But, he added, "it is environmentally friendly, compared to a nuclear bomb, and it will enable us to ensure national security and at the same time stand up to international terrorism in any part of the globe and in any situation."
In 2003 the US tested a vacuum device, officially called the Massive Ordinance Air Blast weapon, which was quickly dubbed the "Mother of All Bombs" by American commentators.
Russian experts are referring to the allegedly mightier Russian incarnation as the "Father" — the Russians claim their new weapon is much smaller than the US vacuum bomb, but four times more powerful.