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calendar   Wednesday - September 30, 2009

Just For Show?

US Air Force Fast Tracks MOP Bomb




Super bombs are being fast-tracked by the Pentagon for possible use against nuclear programs in North Korea and Iran. So massive, the GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator or MOP can only be delivered by a B-52 or a B-2A.

The Pentagon is accelerating by three years plans for a super bunker buster, the GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator or MOP, a powerful new bomb aimed squarely at the underground nuclear facilities of Iran and North Korea. The gargantuan bomb—longer than 11 persons standing shoulder-to-shoulder or more than 20 feet base to nose, weighs 30,000 pounds. Some 18 percent of its total weight is comprised of explosives.

Guided by a precision GPS system, the MOP can penetrate an unprecedented 200 feet down before exploding with devastation into an underground bunker, such as those buried in Iran and North Korea currently used to shield rogue nuclear programs. Now Congress has quietly advanced $68 million into the 2009 budget to accelerate the purchase and deployment of ten such super bunker busters making clear they are for possible use against the regimes in Iran or North Korea. Pentagon planners are rushing to beat by months the latest June 2010 deadline for just four such bombs, and have been subsequently directed to increase the number of MOPs to at least ten.

In early July 2009, the Defense Department told a Congressional committee that the MOP was the “weapon of choice” for an “urgent operational need” enunciated by both the U.S. Pacific Command, tasked with North Korea, and the Central Command, tasked with Iran. In doing so, the Pentagon accelerated the program by three years.

The GBU-57A/B MOP is so immense it can only be carried by either a B-52 or a B2a Stealth bomber. The weapon’s explosive power is 10 times greater than its predecessor, the BLU-109. Moreover, the GBU-57A/B MOP is one third heavier than the MOAB dubbed the Mother of All Bombs.

Following successful tests in deep New Mexico caverns, and a B-52 test drop, a crash program has been approved to modify a B-2a Stealth bomber to carry a payload of two GBU-57A/B MOP bombs. The speed and urgency comes at a time when Iran, NATO and Israel are approaching a denouement over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, its development of long-range, multi-stage missiles and a new awareness that it is clearly developing a nuclear bomb.

The Pentagon has brought forward to December 2009 the target-date for producing the first 15-ton super bunker-buster bomb (GBU-57A/B) Massive Ordinance Penetrator, which can reach a depth of 60.09 meters underground before exploding. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that top defense agencies and air force units were also working against the clock to adapt the bay of a B2a Stealth bomber for carrying and delivering the bomb.

The Pentagon has ordered the number of bombs rolling off the production line increased from four to ten - a rush job triggered in May by the discovery that Iran was hiding a second uranium enrichment plant under a mountain near Qom - a discovery which prompted this week’s international outcry.

Congress has since quietly inserted the necessary funding in the 2009 budget.

All this urgency indicates that the Obama administration has been preparing military muscle to back up the international condemnation of Iran’s concealed nuclear bomb program, its sanctions threat and his willingness to join the negotiations with Iran opening on Oct. 1 in Geneva. Tehran may have to take into account a possible one-time surgical strike against its underground enrichment facility as a warning shot should its defiance continue. In particular, the world powers this week demanded that Iran open up all its nuclear facilities and programs to full and immediate international inspection. Failure to do so could bring forth further US military action.

According to our military sources, the earliest date for the accelerated Pentagon program to produce a super bunker buster bomb mounted on a stealth bomber is December 2009 or January 2010. This too is three years ahead of its original schedule.

The MOP weighs in at a whopping 30,000 pounds, it’s warhead weighs in at 5,300 pounds and it can penetrate 200 ft (61 m) of 5,000 psi (34 MPa) reinforced concrete, 26 ft (8 m) of 10,000 psi (69 MPa) reinforced concrete, or 130 ft (40 m) of moderately hard rock.

The bell tolls for thee Ahmadinejad.



No word on whether the Deep Digger bomb project is anywhere near ready at this point.



So we’ve got a bomb that could do the job, maybe. Or at least half a dozen dropped in the same hole at 90 second intervals. That would do just fine. But will 12 of them be enough? Call me crazy, but if it takes half a dozen to blast a hole down to that secret uranium lab, couldn’t you then drop a MOAB down the hole? That ought to do the job and then some.

The big questions are:

1) Will Obama have the stones to do this? My bet says no.

2) Will Obama “allow” several of these to be “lost at sea” so that Israel can rescue the ship and claim salvage rights and do the job themselves, giving the US plausible deniability? Obama has not shown himself to be any friend of Israel, so again I’m betting against it.

Don’t forget, the USA rolled out the MOAB shortly before going into Iraq. And then never used the thing, not even once. So we ought to have a bunch just sitting around gathering dust, but that’s not my point. My point is that the threat of a super weapon doesn’t carry much weight against people who only respect results.

h/t to reader JustMe, and to Rusty at The Jawa Report.


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 09/30/2009 at 02:44 PM   
Filed Under: • IranMilitary •  
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