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The explosion in Yemen

On April 20, 2014, an unidentified nation dropped a gigantic bomb on a military base next to the Faj Attan neighborhood of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. News reports said that this was a Saudi air strike that hit a SCUD missile depot. Close study of the explosion indicates that this is not true.

For one thing, it was a primary explosion, meaning the detonation of the munition that was dropped. There were no secondary explosions. Here’s the target.
Sound travels at 1115 feet (340 meters) per second. We can therefore calculate the distance between the camera and the explosion.

The sound of the explosion reached the camera after seven seconds. Therefore, the man filming was one mile and 843 yards (2380 meters) away. Despite that distance, the shock wave was so powerful that the camera was jostled violently.

Several people have told me that the bomb was a regular MK-84 general-purpose 2000-lb (945 kg) munition.

That’s absolutely wrong. The MK-84 (called a GBU-31 when fitted with a JDAM guidance kit) is 10.7 feet (3.2 meters) long. You can see the shock wave dissipate quickly in this video.

These shots of Saudi GBU-31 JDAMs show the size of the explosion—the blast radius—that the munition creates.

And here’s a GBU-31 dropped in combat, only a few meters from American soldiers.

The munition used in Yemen created a shock wave that pummeled the camera and cameraman from one mile and 843 yards (2380 meters) away. This was a huge bomb.

We can also calculate the size of the explosion.

On February 12, 2015, terrorists from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took over a military base in Shabwa, Yemen. After studying as many photos as I could, I’ve determined that Yemeni military bases tend to have the same kind of wall built around them.


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