Bunker-busting: Pentagon upgrades bomb with Iranian nukes in mindSubmitted by cooper11 on Fri, 05/03/2013 - 19:09
May 03, 2013
The Pentagon's biggest bunker-busting bomb has been upgraded with one task in mind: taking out suspected Iranian nuclear facilities built deep under the mountains of the Islamic Republic's northern region.
At 30,000 pounds, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator packs brute force and advanced features meant to enable it to destroy Iran's most fortified nuclear site. The bomb is nearly a third bigger than the MOAB, or so-called "Mother of all Bombs," the 22,000-pound previous generation of bunker busters first built in 2003 but never used outside of tests. Officials are confident the newest bunker-buster can dismantle even the deepest and most fortified nuclear facility.
"Hopefully we never have to use it," a senior U.S. official familiar with the development of the new version told The Wall Street Journal. "But if we had to, it would work."
The Pentagon redesigned the bomb with more advanced features intended to enable it to penetrate even deeper, giving it the ability to destroy Iran's most heavily fortified and defended nuclear site. U.S. officials see development of the weapon as critical to convincing Israel that the U.S. has the ability to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb if diplomacy fails, and also that Israel's military can't do that on its own.
American officials have shown Israeli military and civilian leaders secret Air Force video of an earlier version of the bomb hitting its target, according to diplomats who spoke to the newspaper. In the video, the weapon penetrating the ground within inches of its target, then detonates underground, according to people who have seen the footage.