Massive 30,000 pound bomb enters US Air Force service
The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is designed to destroy underground installations.
Boeing has just delivered the largest conventional bomb in the US arsenal to the Air Force. The new bombs weigh 30,000 pounds, and are designed to destroy bunkers buried deep underground.
The size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator is evident from this unofficial photograph.
The deployment of such heavy ordnance on traditional bomber platforms is a curious juxtaposition in an age of drones and precision strikes conducted with lightweight ordinance. However, defense officials have stressed the need to maintain hard-hitting heavy ordnance in the US arsenal.
While over the past two decades, the US has shifted focus to fighting loosely organized insurgent enemies, threats from large nations with sophisticated military capability, or even from terrorists hiding in deep subterranean complexes remains a possibility.
The bombs carry more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and are more than 20 feet long. Dubbed the "Massive Ordnance Penetrator" they are believed to be substantially more effective than the current bunker busting munitions in the arsenal.
Because of national security concerns, the Pentagon will not permit Boeing to comment about the program, although the existence of the program has been publicly acknowledged for some time. The bombs have been built and assembled at Boeing's Phantom Works facilities in St. Louis. Boeing works on a number of top secret projects in those facilities.
No photos of the bomb have been officially released, although illustrations and unofficial photographs have been widely circulated. Images depict the bomb with sophisticated GPS guidance equipment at the rear, along with air brakes and fins to arrest the fall of the bomb and steer it, insuring that it drops precisely onto the target in the configuration that allows maximum penetration into the earth.
It is believed that such bombs could conceivably be effective against hardened targets (underground bunkers) in countries such as Iran or North Korea, which are suspected to be developing clandestine and potentially threatening top-secret weapons projects.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Keywords: massive ordnance penetrator, Air Force, US, bunkers
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