Air Force looking for the ultimate massive bomb

Air Force wants to develop non-nuclear big bomb to defeat well-buried, highly defended targets

Apparently nuclear or huge, heavy bombs are not enough for the Air Force. No siree, it wants the ultimate bomb, a futuristic explosive that can, in its words, defeat well-defended, hard and deeply buried targets.

The Air Force has issued a request for information to look for particularly innovative ways to use  emerging technology or on technology that can "reasonably be expected to be available by 2031." The bomb could be delivered to the vicinity of the target by conventional Air Force strike platforms, manned or unmanned. The Air Force did say that it is not looking for research, or development of atomic or thermonuclear warheads - so some sort of futuristic explosives will do.

Read more: 25 tech touchstones of the past 25 years

"Functional defeat is defined as denial, disruption, or destruction of a facility's ability to accomplish its intended mission for a desired period. It is realized that this time period may not be easily defined. It will depend on the usefulness of the attack solution. Emphasis shall be placed on functional defeat systems that can be delivered to the target or its close vicinity by current or projected delivery platforms. It is understood that some ambiguity must exist about the construction and intended use of the target. For the purpose of this request, it will be assumed that the target functions as a key command, control, and communication node," the Air Force stated.

But the target under consideration for these nasty new bombs has some specific details, including:

  • The target is assumed to be a tunnel complex with two portals built into the base of a granite mountain. The granite over layer is assumed to be 60 meters thick over both portals and 80 meters over the facility's mission space. Metallic blast doors are closed and hermetically sealed at both portals. The two tunnels are assumed to be 100 feet in length with directional turns. The facility is constructed on a single level and occupies between 10,000 and 20,000 square feet.
  • The target makes use of state-of-the-art computers and communication equipment. It is tied to the local electricity grid but has a large capacity diesel generator to produce its electricity when the need arises. The facility draws fresh water from an internal deep well. Sewage is held in holding tanks and removed periodically. All incoming air passes through state-of-the-art biological/chemical filters.

The Air Force recently took delivery of the 20-foot, 30,000lb bomb known as Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) meant to annihilate underground bunkers and other hardened (re: long range missile) sites.  Boeing in November delivered the first batch of the 30,000-pound bombs, each nearly five tons heavier than anything else in the military's arsenal, a Los Angeles Times article noted.

The 21,700-lb Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb, better known as the "Mother Of All Bombs" is also  in the US arsenal. The MOAB was developed to replace the 15,000lb "Daisy Cutters" from the Vietnam War era.

Read more: Celebrating the birthplace of the Internet in pictures

 Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  and on Facebook

Layer 8 Extra

Check out these other hot stories:

NASA iPhone, iPad app lets you watch, research meteors

Can Russia save future NASA, European Space Agency Mars missions?

DARPA wants smartphone app developers for super sensor program

US charges Romanians in multimillion dollar point-of-sale hack

IDC on 2012: Prep for cloud wars, mobile explosion, higher IT spending

Scientists spot two gargantuan black holes with masses 10 billion times our Sun

NASA confirms first planet in habitable zone

DARPA awards $50,000 mystery shredded document prize

US intelligence group seeks Machine Learning breakthroughs

National Do Not Call Registry under attack from scammers, unrelenting telemarketers

How do you keep your security workforce?

Another SCADA threat? Well, only if you count white-lightning as a hazard

High-tech potty talk: Pee-and-play gaming system hits the toilet

Feds seize 150 website domains for selling fake goods  

Successful, effective IT project tips 

Living Legend: Vint Cerf on the Internet and out-of-this-world communications

Join the Network World communities on Facebook and LinkedIn to comment on topics that are top of mind.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.