As U.S. nuclear talks with Iran build to a head, with a June 30 deadline fast approaching to come to an agreement on how Iran will move forward with its nuclear program, the U.S. Air Force has been rehearsing with a 30,000 pound bunker busting bomb in case Iran continues toward developing nuclear weapons.
The bomb is called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, and is the largest non-nuclear weapon in the world. The massive bomb is designed to take on highly fortified and underground targets, with an ability to burrow 200 feet into the ground or through 60 feet of concrete, and then detonating.
While Iran’s Supreme Leader has continued to be defiant, demanding all sanctions against Iran be dropped, a U.S. B-2 Stealth bomber has been taking off from a Missouri Air Force base and making runs to New Mexico to practice dropping the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator during missions believed to be preparation for a “Plan B” should U.S. diplomacy efforts with Iran fail, reports Politico.
The 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a 20-foot-long bomb made of “special high-performance steel,” and when dropped from high altitudes, barrels toward its target at near supersonic speeds. Arriving at its goal, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator lives up to its name, penetrating deep into the earth and/or concrete bunker before detonating a 6,000-pound load of high explosives.
“It boggles the mind,” says a former Pentagon official that has seen video of the recent B-2 drops, and the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb in action.
If Iran and the U.S. cannot agree to terms on Iran’s nuclear program, and the “Plan B” use of the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb is put into action by President Obama or a future President, Iran’s Fordow uranium enrichment plant which creates uranium that could be used to make nuclear weapons, would likely be the first target to take a blow from the Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
Fordow was once a secret Iranian nuclear facility but is now known to be tucked away inside a mountain and highly fortified against an aerial bombardment.
But could a Massive Ordnance Penetrator strike take out Fordow?
That was exactly the question CNN asked U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.
“Yes. That’s what it was designed to do,” said Carter.
But destroying Iran’s Fordow, or at least putting it out of commission, wouldn’t be easy by any stretch, according to Business Insider, not even for the the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator.
But multiple Massive Ordnance Penetrator drops by U.S. B-2 flight teams would likely do the job.
In fact, using the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs in pairs is part of their design and key strategy, with the first MOP opening up a big hole, like an offensive lineman in football, and the second Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb following like a running back, heading through that hole, creating a new deeper one, and then detonating for maximum destruction.
This would be required for a target like Fordow, with the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs needing to bore through both the mountain and whatever concrete and steel fortifications Iran has installed.
In the end, perhaps the threat posed by the Massive Ordnance Penetrator will deter Iran from continuing to pursue nuclear weapons. But if not, and “Plan B” is put into action, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator promises to give the fortifications of Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities a significant test.
[Images via YouTube]