An 30,000 Pounds bombs for USAF
A B-52 releases a test version of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) during a test of the weapon over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. i...
|A B-52 releases a test version of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) during a test of the weapon over White Sands Missile Range, N.M. in 2009. (Photo: US DoD)|
The U.S. Air Force has a new 30,000-pound bomb in its arsenal designed to penetrate targets buried deep underground, a spokesman said Nov. 15. The Air Force started taking delivery of the the "Massive Ordnance Penetrator," in September, said Lt. Col. Jack Miller.
Under an Aug. 2 contract worth $32 million, the aerospace firm Boeing is due to produce eight of the giant MOP bombs to fulfill the Air Force's "operational needs," Miller said.
The Air Force could not say how many of the conventional bombs have been delivered so far, but the MOP is seen as a weapon made for going after underground bunkers and tunnels. The MOP bomb, with more than 5,000 pounds (or nearly 2.5 tons) of explosives, is supposed to fit on a B-2 stealth bomber to strike at underground sites hiding weapons of mass destruction. About 20 feet (six meters) long, the GPS-guided bomb "will defeat our adversaries' [weapons of mass destruction] before they leave the ground," according to an official description posted on the website of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and U.S. Strategic Command.
The U.S., which suspects Iran and North Korea have built nuclear facilities deep underground to thwart any possible air raids, has been developing the MOP bomb since about 2007. The weapon, made to penetrate up to 200 feet of reinforced concrete before exploding, is ten times more powerful than its predecessor, the BLU-109.
The new MOP is also twice as heavy as the "daisy cutter" bomb employed in Vietnam and in Tora Bora at the outset of the war in Afghanistan. The "daisy cutter" has since been retired and replaced with the MOAB, the Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb or "the Mother of All Bombs," which weighs less than the MOP bomb but contains more explosive power.