Bunker-nobbling US megabomb test delayed
Too heavy for the bomb racks, apparently
The World War II style 14-tonne conventional bunker-busting penetrator bomb being developed for the US air force has hit development snags, according to reports. Entry to service will be delayed, and costs have risen.
Flight International reports that the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) will now be dropped for the first time this June from a B-52 Stratofortress bomber, in a test originally scheduled for last August.
The problems apparently stem from the bomb rack connecting the monster weapon to the aircraft. It has proved impossible to hang the MOP from existing racks, and a whole new subsystem has had to be designed, pushing the programme costs up by $10m (33 per cent) and causing a ten-month delay.
In addition to the ageing B-52, there are also plans to arm the B-2 Stealth bomber with MOPs, originally supposed to be complete early this year. There are as yet no revelations as to how that aspect of the programme is proceeding.
The MOP itself is a comparatively simple proposal, a massive sharpened steel pencil with a comparatively small 2.5 tonne explosive charge inside. Dropped from high in the stratosphere, it will strike its targets at many times the speed of sound and punch through earth or concrete protection with ease before detonation.
Such weapons - for instance the British "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" penetrators, designed by legendary Brit boffin Barnes Wallis of bouncing-bomb Dambusters fame and termed "earthquake bombs" - were used against hardened Nazi targets in World War II. An even bigger one, the colossal 20-tonne American T12, arrived too late to see action.
Nukes relegated the earthquake bomb to also-ran status for many decades, but nowadays there is a desire in America to nobble bunkers using less drastic methods if possible. In particular, the Pentagon's Threat Reduction Agency - funding the MOP - is concerned with the Iranian nuclear programme.
The US intelligence community just last December said that the Iranian weapons effort was put on hold in 2003, but that it had run for many years before that, with Iran denying aspirations to acquire nukes all the while. The permanent five UN Security Council members, backed by Germany, are still hoping to implement a package of sanctions against Iran unless it ceases uranium enrichment. Even Russia has just expressed some worry about Iran's intentions. Russia is perhaps happier to sell the Iranians reactor fuel than see them enrich their own.
The key to the Iranian atomic effort is the centrifuge farm at Natanz (Google Earth kmz link), buried deep beneath many layers of earth and reinforced concrete. Barring heroic measures such as nukes or a massive raid by normal jets dropping laser-guided smartbombs one after another onto exactly the same spot, a Stealth bomber tooled up with MOPs is the only military pill that could take away the Natanz headache.
American contingency planners will no doubt be glad when they finally have it in their medicine chest.
Read the Flight report here. ®
@risky Ha Ha!
@risky Ha! Ha! , you just made my day , as all my history books show the Madhi resided in another continent and another age , but even Generals Gordon and Kitchener knew that simple fact !
Have nice day , I just cannot stop laughing , you have really made my day as Dirty Harry would say !
I suspect you must belive that exclamation marks will protect you the the black helicopters. Or perhaps hasten the return of the Mahdi.
Either way I'll have my coat and a head somewhere for a stiff drink and try and forget my attempt to read your hysterical rantings.
@risky no pic's no proof
First of all all US claims of Iran producing Nuclear grade fissile material are based the usual CIA BS and nutter former evil evicted ruling class Iranians who if convicted in a US court of law for crimes and serial killings theft and so on would be doing ten to twenty consecutive life sentences ! This information is from the same source that told us about Saddam's weapons of mass deception , have you found out where haliburton has stored these weapons yet , please tell the world and the UN as we would all like to know including Colin Powell and all the living relatives of the million or so deceased democratically liberated Iraqi citizens since 1991 due to US sanctions and all US Oil Companies making enormous profits during post Gulf War 1 from oil smuggling (forgotten about already have we ?)
As for holocaust denial provide the proof that Iranians have done so since that country has for the past two thousand years not troubled the local Jewish faithful unlike the anglo white american ancestors going back in time to bad King John of the Magna Carta fame !
As for lunacy , a picture hangs in the oval office at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Washington DC of an outlaw fleeing a posse with a portable neck tie just for him !
Yeah most of the world knows the biggest lunatic and quite possibly the man most stupid enough to start WW3 on a whim resides at the Washington address too!
Now since dating back to the Roman Empire times name one country that Iran(Persia) has invaded , directly interfered with or paid revolutionaries to over throw same , having a bit of trouble are we ?
Now going back to the year 1812 , name how many countries the US has either directly invaded or interfered with or deposed democratically elected governments , having trouble remembering the numerous history volumes are we !
Sadly , being a polite person who allows all to express their views without either fear nor interference , may I congratulate on your wonderful seven concrete veils of propaganda your are wearing , as it would be more then adequate to stop even a direct hit at point blank range from this bomb that is for sure ! You may proceed flank speed full ahead with your nonsense , it is your free choice to believe that which many a rational person of logic deem as unbelievable, I am not stopping you , and oh please have a nice day too !
In closing a line from the "Crimson Pirate" sums it up neatly(it was made back in the days of an evil unamerican senator Joseph was plying his trade) "Not I. All my life I've watched injustice and dishonesty fly the flag of decency . I don't trust it. "