Skip to comments.Penetrator bomb slides under radar (Massive Ordnance Penetrator - MOP)
Posted on 05/06/2006 11:10:54 AM PDT by Dark Skies
They're sibling bombs, each weighing three or more times than a Hummer H2, born of engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate and defense contractors.
The 30,000-pound MOP -- Massive Ordnance Penetrator -- is growing up outside the media spotlight. That's in contrast to its older brother the MOAB -- the 21,600-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast -- even though there's tension between America and Iran.
MOAB was dubbed Mother of All Bombs and played to the hilt by the Defense Department as part of a psychological warfare operation against Saddam Hussein in March 2003. The glide bomb was test dropped at Eglin eight days before the Iraq war officially started.
MOP has been so neglected by the media and the Office of the Secretary of Defense -- despite it being the kind of weapon that could be used against deeply buried targets such as uranium enrichment facilities in Iran -- that it has no publicly announced nickname.
Still, the people designing the weapon hope to start dropping the first of five MOPs from a B-52 in mid-2007 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.
"Our goal is to demonstrate the upper limit of conventional weapons to defeat hard targets," said Robert Hastie of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. "We have the same problems that they had during World War II when they developed the Grand Slam and Tallboy bombs."
Among the challenges is building a case that would permit MOP to burrow far into the ground, rock or concrete before detonating. The big bomb would be used to collapse tunnels or destroy bunkers, for example. How deeply DTRA wants MOP to penetrate hasn't been released.
The glide bomb -- it's steered by unique fins and guided by GPS receivers -- will be about 20 feet long and 30 inches in diameter.
Hastie said the MOP prototypes are designed to demonstrate technologies that could eventually be used in war-ready penetrators.
DTRA is paying the $11.5 million MOP tab, but the Munitions Directorate is managing the contract.
Though it helps that the Eglin Air Force Base directorate also handled MOAB, the two bombs are very different, said Sandy Davis, the directorate's MOP program manager, and Fred Davis (no relation to Sandy), the directorate's Assessment and Demonstrations Division technical director.
Unlike MOAB, which was designed to explode close to the ground to destroy concentrations of troops or equipment, MOP has to be right on target and traveling fast to do the job, he said. The penetrator will exceed the speed of sound while it's plunging.
Demands on the bomb's performance are stringent.
Not only does the weapon have to be accurate, it has to stay intact during its high-impact, high-speed burrow through ground, hillsides, mountainsides or feet of reinforced concrete.
Every component of the 15-ton bomb has to work right, said MOP program manager Davis. No one part of MOP is more important than the other.
"All of the components are crucial," Davis continued. "It doesn't do any good to have a hard nose (for penetration) if the fuse doesn't work."
The need to call it the BMFB...and I won't go into the details of the acronym.
That's in contrast to its older brother the MOAB -- the 21,600-pound Massive Ordnance Air Blast -- even though there's tension between America and Iran.
Can we make contributions so our names as sponsors can be on the first one that hits Iran?
"Not only does the weapon have to be accurate, it has to stay intact during its high-impact, high-speed burrow through ground, hillsides, mountainsides or feet of reinforced concrete.
Sounds about right to be used to hit Iran's underground nuclear facilities.
One could think that a shaped charge (if need be, assembled from small synchronized nukes) with a very heavy cone to provide the penetration jet could fit the bill. What was the penetrating ability of a Big Bertha shell [the closest analog of this MOP]? Something like 150' of concrete, IIRC.
Air Force Guide to good house cleaning.
Paging the President of Iran, can you hear me now?
"Unlike MOAB, which was designed to explode close to the ground to destroy concentrations of troops or equipment, MOP has to be right on target and traveling fast to do the job, he said. The penetrator will exceed the speed of sound while it's plunging."
The MOAB is for killing a lot of people in one place, which is not what we really want to do in Iran.
The MOP penetrates deep, hopefully deep enough to hit Iran's underground nuclear facilities.
I wonder what would happen if several MOP's were dropped one behind the other to the same coordinates.
"I wonder what would happen if several MOP's were dropped one behind the other to the same coordinates."
Some suggested, that's the way to penetrate even deeper. It may work.
I once called the Pentagon with a willingness to make a good donation if my name could have been put on a MOAB for Afghanistan or Baghdad. They told me that they would be glad to have a contribution, but it would go to the general fund. Darn, I really did want to sponsor a MOAB.
Definitely a useful device. Definitely won't see that coming!
Called it " Spot On Big Blast Bomb " S.O.B.B.B.