MOP enhancements are tested against specially created underground test bunkers at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. This image is of a test conducted in 2009. - Defense Threat Reduction Agency
15 October, 2015 by James Drew – FG
Washington DC - Boeing can expect a sole-source contract for redesign, qualification and testing of the US Air Force’s largest non-nuclear penetrating bomb, the 13.6t GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).
A redacted notice published by the air force this week says Boeing is being put on contract for the second phase of a classified MOP modification programme, called Enhanced Threat Reduction IV. The specialised weapon began development in 2004 and was never intended for serial production. Instead, GBU-57 is built in small quantities by Boeing through the air force’s direct attack office at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. MOP is specifically designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers, and the components are continually modified as those targets, such as Iran’s underground nuclear sites, dig deeper or are reinforced against US weapons.