16 octobre 2015
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.
7 novembre 2014
RQ-170 Sentinel drone. Air Force photo
Nov 7 Joseph Trevithick - War Is Boring
Mock attack could point to future Middle East strikes
Two years ago, the U.S. Air Force brought the stealthy RQ-170 drone and the Massive Ordnance Penetrator—two of America’s most secretive weapons—together for a single test.
The Pentagon denies that it’s aiming the huge MOP bomb—which can punch deep into the ground to destroy underground bunkers—at any specific targets. But the experimental pairing from 2012 could have been a sort of rehearsal for potential strikes in the Middle East.
16 novembre 2011
Rogue states with nascent nuclear weapon programs (cough, Iran, cough), consider yourselves on notice. The Air Force has started taking delivery of Massive Ordnance Penetrators. Yup, the 30,000-pound bunker busters, known as MOPs, designed to penetrate 30 stories of reinforced concrete.
(Oh, and the massive bomb’s name is almost as charged as the term, Pre-Dawn Vertical Insertion, if you get what I’m sayin.)
The service apparently got its first production MOP in September and has been stockpiling them ever since. That’s a decent turnaround since April when the Air Force gave Boeing a $28 million contract to deliver eight MOPs and their associated loading equipment. The service gave Boeing a follow-on $32 million contract for eight more MOPs in August. No word on why that deal cost an extra $4 million when it appears otherwise identical to the April contract.
The Air Force has modified several B-2 stealth bombers to carry two of the GPS-guided bombs, apiece. This pretty much tells you all you need to know about the type of mission the MOP will be used for; a super bunker-buster carried by our most survivable heavy bomber. It’s meant to threaten nations like Iran and North Korea with the prospect of an air strike that can take out their most hardened targets.
I’ve got to say, this is pretty timely, given the recent flood of publicity surrounding Iran’s alleged progress toward building a nuclear weapon. While the MOP is big and costly, the West may have more subtle ways of putting kinetic pressure on states like Iran.