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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Tests Its Most Powerful Bomb

WASHINGTON -- The Air Force tested the biggest conventional bomb in the U.S. arsenal for the first time Tuesday, a 9,450-kilogram bomb that could play a dramatic role in an attack on Iraq.

Cheryl Irwin, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said the test at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, was considered a success.

"It did what they expected it to do. Nothing malfunctioned," she said.

The bomb, officially called the Massive Ordnance Air Blast, or MOAB, and unofficially dubbed the Mother of All Bombs, is guided to its target by satellite signals. It was dropped out the rear of a C-130 transport plane, officials said.

The bomb is so powerful that its detonation had been expected to create a towering cloud visible for kilometers.

A Pentagon official who reviewed a videotape said the bomb created a tall cloud of debris that billowed into the sky but did not resemble the mushroom-shaped cloud of a nuclear blast. The Air Force videotape was to be released later.

Some area residents felt the bomb's detonation but said the explosion was not as big as they had expected.

"It was kind of weak," said Patricia Sariego, a receptionist at the Best Western hotel in Navarre, Florida. She said the blast shook doors.

Asked about the test at a Pentagon news conference, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld would not say whether it would be used in an Iraq war, and he refused to discuss its capabilities.

"This is not small," he said.

Other officials said the Air Force expected to have the MOAB available for use in an Iraq war.

The U.S. military is putting the final pieces of combat power in place in anticipation of an order by Bush to attack Iraq and depose Saddam, Iraq's president. More than 200,000 U.S. forces are within striking range.

The Air Force bomb is much bigger than any other conventional bomb.