Russia unveils huge new bomb

FATHER OVERTAKES MOTHER: An armed forces official said tests showed that the new ordnance is ''comparable with nuclear weapons in its efficiency and potential''

THE GUARDIAN , MOSCOW

Thu, Sep 13, 2007 - Page 6

Russia's military announced on Tuesday that it had successfully tested a new air-delivered bomb, which it described as the world's most powerful non-nuclear weapon.

In what appears to be the Kremlin's latest display of military might, officials said Moscow had developed a new thermobaric bomb to add to its already potent nuclear arsenal.

Russia's state-run Channel One television said the new weapon -- dubbed the Father of all Bombs -- is four times more powerful than the Mother of all Bombs developed by the US.

"The results of tests of the aviation explosive device that has been created have shown that it is comparable with nuclear weapons in its efficiency and potential," said Alexander Rukshin, a deputy chief of the Russian armed forces staff.

"You will now see it in action -- the bomb which has no match in the world is being tested at a military site," the report said.

It showed a Tupolev 160 strategic bomber dropping the bomb over a testing ground. A large explosion followed.

The aviation vacuum bomb, which is also known as a fuel-air bomb, was the mightiest ever created, it said.

Last night's announcement comes at a time of growing tension between Russia and the West and follows a tumultuous eight months in which Russian President Vladimir Putin has denounced US power, torn up a conventional arms agreement with NATO and grabbed a large, if symbolic, chunk of the Arctic.

Last month Russia carried out a series of war games with China and four other central Asian states, designed to show the country's resurgent military power and the emergence of new regional alliances outside NATO. Russia's strategic nuclear bombers also resumed patrols of the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic oceans.