The United States military dropped a GBU-43 bomb, known as the “mother of all bombs” on caves in eastern Afghanistan believed to be occupied by Islamic State fighters on Thursday.

The bombing, which happened at 7 p.m. local time in the Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, marks the first time the GBU-43 has been used in a combat situation. In a statement, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said the 'MOAB' was the “right munition” to destroy ISIS’ defenses and continue an offensive against the terrorist organization.

Read: US Air Force Drops Record Amount Of Bombs Against Islamic State In Iraq And Syria

What Is The GBU-43?

The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast Bomb, nicknamed MOAB or “mother of all bombs,” is the most powerful non-nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal. The 21,600 pound bomb measures in at more than 30 feet long and 40 inches wide.

What Is The MOAB Blast Radius?

It produces a blast yield that is the equivalent of 11 tons of TNT—enough to completely destroy any structure within about a third of a mile of the blast, and cause considerable damage for up to 8 miles beyond the point of impact, according to "The Effects of Nuclear Weapons."

History of GBU-43, MOAB

Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, the GBU-43 was first tested in March 2003 before it was initially delivered into operational theater on April 1, 2013, ostensibly to be used for part of the Global War on Terror—though it was never put into use.

The GBU-43 is the spiritual successor to the BLU-82 Daisy Cutter, a 15,000-pound explosive that was used primarily to heavily wooded areas in the Vietnam War and in Iraq, as well as to clear minefields.

When first introduced, the Pentagon suggested the GBU-43 could be used as an anti-personnel weapon, or a weapon designed to be used against enemy combatants in vehicles and other structures. It was also suggested the bomb could be used for “psychological” attacks as part of a “shock and awe” campaign designed to show overwhelming force in order to intimidate the enemy.

In its use in Afghanistan Thursday, the first ever time it has been used in combat, the GBU-43 was dropped from a C-130, a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed by Lockheed Martin. Instead of being dropped from a bomber craft through bomb bay doors, MOABs are released out of the back of cargo planes.

The bomb sits on a pallet, which is attached to a parachute. The parachute pulls the weapon out of the plan, then the pallet separates from the bomb, allowing it to drop.