The US has redesigned its biggest “bunker buster” bomb to be even bigger and smarter, Pentagon officials said today. “Hopefully we never have to use it,” a US official told the WSJ. “But if we had to, it would work.”The Boeing-built bomb is designed to be dropped from a plane and hit the ground with nearly inch-perfect accuracy, then burrow into the earth and destroy underground facilities that could not otherwise be reached by conventional weaponry. The Pentagon is specifically targeting the Fordow nuclear enrichment plant deep underground outside the holy city of Qom in Iran, according to the WSJ:
The newest version of what is the Pentagon’s largest conventional bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, has adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and high-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex, which is buried under a mountain near the Iranian city of Qom….The improvements are meant to address U.S. and Israeli concerns that Fordow couldn’t be destroyed from the air. Overcoming that obstacle could also give the West more leverage in diplomatic efforts to convince Iran to curtail its nuclear program.
Clearly diplomacy and sanctions have not convinced Iran to stop its nuclear program. But other alternatives are moving ahead. These enhanced bunker busters are like nothing Israel has in its arsenal and are meant to convince Jerusalem that Washington is serious about stopping Iran’s nuclear program by any means necessary, even if the Israeli Defense Forces are not quite up to the task. If these bunker busters work as advertised, that message will be well received in Israel. Will it worry Tehran and convince the mullahs to make concessions?We shall see.[Iran’s Fordow nuclear enrichment facility, courtesy Google Maps]