Now this is one big bomb. Published reports today say the Pentagon is rattling swords in the direction of North Korea and Iran by speeding the development a 20-foot, 30,000lb bomb known as Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) meant to annihilate underground bunkers and other hardened (re: long range missile) sites.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency which has overseen the development of this monster since 2007, says it is designed to be carried aboard B-2 and B-52 bombers and deployed at high altitudes where it would strike the ground at speeds well beyond 2X the speed of sound to penetrate the below ground target.
The Boeing-built MOP won't be the heaviest conventional bomb ever made. The US military built the T-12, which weighed about 44,000lbs, in the 1940s. Meanwhile the 21,700-lb Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, better known as the "Mother Of All Bombs" is still in the US arsenal. The MOAB was developed to replace the 15,000lb "Daisy Cutters" from the Vietnam Ware era. The Soviets claimed a "Father of all Bombs" in 2007 but some experts think the bomb was a hoax or stunt and questioned its true power.
The DTRA defines its mission as "safeguarding America and its allies from Weapons of Mass Destruction (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, and high yield explosives) by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat, and mitigate its effects." Indeed the MOP would pretty much mitigate any threat I would imagine.
According to Reuters, the threat reduction agency is working with the Air Force to transition the program from "technology demonstration" to acquisition. The Air Force and Department of Defense are looking at the possibility of accelerating the program and there have been discussions with the four congressional committees with oversight responsibilities. No final decision has been made, a spokesperson stated.
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