“Bunker-buster” bombs are designed to burrow deep underground before detonating.
After deciding that its current arsenal lacks a non-nuclear bomb powerful enough to tear through 200 feet of mountaintop and obliterate Iran’s subterranean Fodrow nuclear enrichment facility, the Pentagon has asked Boeing Co. to make a conventional weapon equal to the task.
“The development of this weapon is not intended to send a signal to any one particular country,” Pentagon press secretary George Little reported. “It’s a capability we believe we need in our arsenal and will continue to invest in it.”
The Wall Street Journal:
The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co. The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, according to government officials briefed on the plan.
Some experts question if any kind of conventional explosives are capable of reaching facilities such as those built deep underground in Iran. But U.S. defense officials say they believe the MOP [Massive Ordnance Penetrator] could already do damage sufficient to set back the program.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal Thursday, acknowledged the bomb’s shortcomings against some of Iran’s deepest bunkers. He said more development work would be done and that he expected the bomb to be ready to take on the deepest bunkers soon.