Home » Air » Air Force » Air Force Now Has the MOP

Air Force Now Has the MOP

by John Reed on November 15, 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.


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{ 194 comments… read them below or add one }

Morty November 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Good by Iraq and Afqanistan As soon as Iran gets there nukes finished it ether us or Israel going in.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 12:26 am

Haha yeah when has Israel fought further than countries adjacent to it.All Israel going to do is talk crap and maybe bomb some targets on our behalf as a fall guy.Then we go in spend billions of dollars send our guys to get shot at,all while Netanyahu pats himself in the back at the American taxpayers expense. The IDF has never set boots on the grounds in any American operations and probably doesn't plan to.


ben November 17, 2011 at 1:03 am

You are obviously not aware of the Israeli raid on the iraqi nuclear weapons facility. Iraq does NOT share a border with Israel. NOT adjacent.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 1:51 am

Yeah you talking about Osirak during Operation Opera, how about Yehoshua Saguy of Israeli military intelligence cooperated with Iran and how the reactor was first attacked by Iranians.By the way this happened on September 30, 1980 during the Iraq-Iran War, the information is available on the internet. The Israelis have worked with the Iranians in the past. Now tell me has the IDF ever helped us by sending troops to Iraq or Afghanistan. They have never done a persistent military campaign outside the Sinai, Golan Heights, and south Lebanon all of which border Israel.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 1:58 am

I've have researched this years before the media was even talking about the subject. All we're going to do is spend more money we don't have,fill body bags needlessly, all while the Israeli leadership convinces our politicians send them another 3 billion dollars of the American peoples money.


ERIC MANLOVE November 26, 2011 at 10:32 pm

No they have not because we will not let them. That would only cause more harm than good. By uniting the muslems against us. Instead of them fighting themselfs and us.


woody3333 November 23, 2011 at 12:46 pm

The correct spelling is "their", not "there". Also, it should read "it is either", not "it either"; ending the sentence with "in" doesn't rack up points either.


momarlon November 23, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I don't care as much for your spelling or grammar as much as I want to see a video on Youtube of it being used. :D


SJE November 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I wouldnt get too reliant on MOP. Iran is about to open a new enrichment facility buried within a mountain.


IronV November 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Hello? McFly? That's precisely what this weapon is designed to defeat.


dddd November 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Isn't stone harder than concrete? I still cannot grasp exactly how even a 30,000 lb bomb is supposed to penetrate 30 STORIES of concrete. Can someone explain that to me?


IronV November 15, 2011 at 5:30 pm

How? Years of design and engineering development followed by lengthy testing… that's how. Of course, penetration will vary with a number of factors. But it would be highly unlikely that Iran could harden any facility against one of these babies in a timely or practical fashion. To use a technical term, this is one bad-a$$ bomb…


tiger November 15, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Never heard of a armor piercing bomb? Hard nose to punch through stuff; dropped at great height for speed. Then a time delay so it does not detonate on the surface.


SJE November 15, 2011 at 10:26 pm

The tech specs I saw said that MOP can penetrate 40 m of rock, which is very impressive.

The Iranian site ", is set inside a military base near Abyek, 75 miles outside the capital, and consists of a series of four bombproof tunnels made from reinforced concrete set 656ft (200m) deep inside a desert ridge."

By my calculations, a bomb that can penetrate 40 m is not going to destroy something buried within 200m of rock, and then reinforced concrete. The shock waves are probably going to cause some damage, but its not the sort of slam dunk destruction of the place that we are trying to get. Also, the Iranians have a long history of earthquakes and know how to build to withstand them (the worst disasters in Iran occur in old cities)

Remember, the USA has command stations buried within mountains, and those are designed to withstand nuclear attack. We build ours decades ago, and its likely that the Iranians are able to do the same.

Over to you, IronV


SJE November 15, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Another thing: do we even know exactly WHERE under the mountain the factory is located? We can identify the entrances and exits, and can block it off for a while, but the processing facility could be somewhere far away from the exit.

Remember: many analysts think we probably only get one shot to do this, as the entire Middle East will be going crazy after an attack.


tiger November 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm

That is what we pay spies for………

Riceball November 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

As long as it's not some kind of command center then I think that being seal the doors and other entrances would more than do the job. So what if we don't destroy the whole facility, it's as good as destroyed if they can't get anything out. Sure they'll probably manage to clear all of the debris and start to repair some of the damage and begin to move product out and that's when we hit them again putting them back at square one.

IronV November 16, 2011 at 1:12 am

I appreciate your "calculations." But first, we consider those mountain-buried command stations obsolete, and second, the MOP is depoyed in a variety of ways for a variety of applications. I stand by my original statement. It is unlikely the Iranians have the time, money or technical expertise to build a facility impervious to the MOP.


SJE November 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm

The Iranians can never win in war against the USA. Thus, they are trying to play a PR game of victim against the Zionist aggressors.
The reason they are burying the site has more to do with politics.

If the USA could bomb and destroy the entire nuke program in one go, the Russians, Chinese etc would complain, but leave it at that.

However, by burying the facility, we will need more assets, possibly nukes, and have no guarantee of destroying it. An attack of that scale requires more planning and support. It would provoke more anger and repercussions, and there is a significant risk that we would lose aircraft, and not destroy everything.

Iran would win the PR battle, even if we destroyed the facility.

IYAAYAS November 23, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Well, they did say they have more than one. So we keep dropping them on the target until we get deeper and deeper… :)


howard November 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

one approach to the 4m penetrator vs the 200 m deep bunker base would be to run multiple 40m’s on the access and vent shafts….effectively sealing entombing the bunker…


ron bader November 22, 2011 at 5:22 pm

then mabe it would take 2 of them


ez-E November 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

That may be true but every mountain base has a tunnel entrance waiting to be bombed.


bill November 23, 2011 at 3:59 pm

you havent seen the test vidios yet mountain or bunker. guess what.


Bootman November 28, 2011 at 5:00 pm

It's all in the tactics and weaponeering. Better penetrator gives us better options. If said mountain lair has an entrance(s) we've got a better way to close it longer. While Cheyenne Mountain is more of a command center, theirs is (will be) a factory. The MOP could buy us more time over what we would have used or make a larger statement. Not to mention the "diplomacy" the very public announcement of the weapon may enable. Well, maybe skip the diplomacy.


Doesmatter November 29, 2011 at 6:27 am

Lies lies and more lies.
It smells like a hearing your mouthing of boy.
This sounds like the WMD iraq threat and 45 minute imminent strike.
All this to justify war.
Wake up looney tune and tune to the reality, that is your talk is supporting evil spirit agenda, you hypocrite!


Joe T November 29, 2011 at 11:59 am

Words no sense make jumble when talked incohere, meaning escaped, ideas falling down dead.


mikk323 November 29, 2011 at 10:09 pm

First of all 30 stories means 8 inches of concrete floors not 240 feet of solid concrete. Second whether it is in a mountain or not if the bomb goes 100 ft deep in side of mountain it will collapse the entrance under many tons of debris. Assuming laser guidance to area above the tunnel in mountain./


Black Owl November 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm

When I first saw this photo I seriously thought this was picture of the Russian R-77 air-to-air missile.


Morty November 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm

30 stories of buildings is a lot different then a mountain


Gary November 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

didn't read the article did you.


pacomj60 November 23, 2011 at 5:29 pm

Actually it isn't. I remember a time when Cheyenne MT couldn't be destroyed because it was a mountain. Then came nukes and later bunker busters both of which can take a mountain out. Do remember you open the hole and drop a 2nd or third down the hole. Either way the target is gone. Now let’s use them on Iran immediately. I have no desire to see the first use of a nuclear since WWII by these sick fools. They believe in blowing themselves up and be assured they will use the weapon as soon as they can deploy it.


Dave January 2, 2012 at 11:08 am

The "30 stories of reinforced concrete" figure is only for relatively weak 5000 PSI concrete. According to Senator Feinstein, "It can burrow 60 meters in the ground through 5,000 PSI — pounds per square inch — of reinforced concrete. It will burrow 8 meters into the ground through 10,000 PSI reinforced concrete." Nowadays 15,000 PSI concrete is available. So, the MOP would be luck to penetrate 2 stories of bunker-grade concrete. Granite, such as that of Cheyenne mountain, has a compressive strength of about 25,000 PSI. Iran reportedly has nuclear facilities 90 meters underground. The MOP would have no change of damaging facilities 90 meters underground, let alone the much deeper Cheyenne mountain US facitlity.


Keith D Kohrs November 27, 2011 at 2:01 am

Yeah and a mountain is a lot different than 30 stories of "REINFORCED CONCRETE". No where in the article does it state the 30 stories of buildings.


Guest February 17, 2012 at 3:00 pm

My guess is it can penetrate a lot more than 30 stories of reinforced concrete. That's just what they are publicly willing to acknowledge.


JanZizka November 15, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Curious thing will be how do you perform post-strike Bomb Damage Assessment (BDA) in order to know if the strik ewas effective or not?


Baron von French November 15, 2011 at 2:21 pm

Check airborne radiation levels.


chaos0xomega November 16, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Depending on the size of the explosion, after its detonated you should be able to see a nice bulge/crater formed in the ground as a result. That should be a pretty good indication as to how successful the strike was. The more tunnels, etc. that collapse the larger/deeper the hole is going to be.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 12:55 am

A mixture of analyzing pre- and post-attack sat photos plus human intel on the ground. We've been arming Kurdish rebels from PJAK to attack Iranian targets in addition having them collect intel. Funny thing is thing we call them "freedom fighters" while they kill Iranians…Ironic.Other than that the Kurds have proven useful before and after we invaded Iraq.


jeff November 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Easy! The recipient will say, "UNCLE!"


Vince December 17, 2011 at 11:59 pm

It doesn't matter to the US gov't..the more innocents that are dead the better….


JoeAmerica November 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hopefully their are no Chicom parts that make up part of this bomb, serious!


Christopher Bloom November 15, 2011 at 2:19 pm

They said 30 stories of Reinforced Concrete not a 30 story building.


Ron November 20, 2011 at 7:51 pm

that means one bomb can carve out roughly 300-400 feet of mountain. that means the u.s. air force will have to carry out a substained air campaign to chip away at that mountain until iran nukes are destroyed.


dago adve November 29, 2011 at 12:31 am

Thats 300 ft of in ground concrete— Plain old dirt would go a lot deeper!


RCDC January 30, 2012 at 9:56 pm

30 stories means 30 floors.


Tribulationtime November 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I want to be one Net-adviser too. 8?….We need more weapons, more weapons. How many underground facilities we can demolished with 2 weapons (we are talking of 5 long tons of HE…..). How many B-2? 16-18 we can not lost 1. Sounds like pitch and toss….. the good part is We can use TacNuk and say what the radiactive waste surrounding the target was inside before attack. Other hand How can a embebed smart ass tell the diference?


blight November 15, 2011 at 2:50 pm

You can detect a nuclear detonation with seismometers. It's the accepted method of determining when rogue states detonate nuclear weapons, and is used to monitor nuclear testing. Also, the radionuclides produced by a nuclear reaction and kicked up into the air differ from what would come from a uranium centrifuge operation: you won't get I131, for example from a refining operation.


you suck December 2, 2011 at 9:41 am

Try again, in english this time. You write like a Yugoslavian foreign national.


Shail November 15, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Cool factor: to put the heat on some current despots and keep them in line,
maybe we can find an old derelict ship hull destined to become a reef,
drop one of these at it, configured to penetrate thru the ship and detonate underneath.
That would be an awesome water column, and should be quite capable of sheering the ship in two.

Put that one out there on the Net.
Or maybe we need a third entry in the MOAB/MOP family: one that detonates with regular explosive (not fuel-air) at or near the surface (or after penetrating only a couple dozen feet at most), if just to show potentially hostile navies what we could do to a ship in their ports…


mat November 15, 2011 at 3:13 pm

bunker busting in practice never realy worked out as planed ,in campaign over kosovo nato bombed undrground aircraft hangers on many ocassions and suposedy destroyed the facility ,after cesation of hostilities serbs opend the doors few migs out of the base ,truble with bunker busters is that they might go trough a lot of concrete but many underground facilities are built in hillsides that are chosen because the rock might be granit or similar and could well be 10 or more stories deep.Example NORAD


Musson1 November 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm

But – these weapons do create shock waves that can travel through granite like the clang travels through a bell.


Maxtrue November 15, 2011 at 11:25 pm

The kind of shock wave you need to turn rock into breccia for miles is a hypersonic impact. You can see my comment below. Explosive will loose some force to needless vectors where as 6000 lbs traveling at more than 20x the speed of sound will direct much of the shock wave downward. Such a bomb is maneuverable and traveling too fast for missile defenses,,,


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 1:09 am

The bomb is not hyper-sonic it has tail surfaces to reduce it's free-fall speed. The reason behind that is the bomb needs to maneuver to be accurate, in fact it pierces concrete by momentum not speed.If it was travailing that speed the bomb would have horrible accuracy.


Sam November 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm

Iran would be foolish to push their rhetoric, the world cannot afford another flashpoint right now.


Musson1 November 15, 2011 at 3:36 pm

If you are hiding more than 30 stories below the ground you might survive. But you might be waiting a long, long time before they dig you out.


Nikmal November 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm

That's a great point. They should rename it "The Grave Maker"!


steve November 23, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Don't forget every animal that lives underground has a way or two in….and a way out? All of that is built BEFORE they move in…..


Joe Boyum November 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Wish they would just start the damn bombing campaign so we can get the inevitable loss of crediability and international prestigeover with. The suspense is killing me.

If the US bombs iran with or without israeli assistance it will be interesting who still stands by us aside from the brits, israel, and of course micronesia…


SERVative November 24, 2011 at 11:41 am

Just twiddle our thumbs while they get nukes – they won't use um, right! NOT!!!


Bret Perry November 15, 2011 at 3:41 pm

With or without an MOP, a strike on Iran's facilities will require a tactical nuclear bomb to succeed. The bunkers are too complex for even the most sophisticated bunker busters.


Lance November 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Cool looking ordnance hope we use them to take out Iran's nuke bunkers.


mpower6428 November 15, 2011 at 4:27 pm

we cant keep Iran from building a bomb. the writing is on the wall.

does anybody actually think that we (the USA) are scared of an iranian nuke…?

our politicians are more affraid of the isreals and local "end times kooks" reaction to an iranian bomb.


LibsRHaters November 26, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Wow! I don’t think I’ve ever seen more ignorance and stupidity spewed more arrogantly than the dribble you wrote here! Go back to your momma’s ***, dum***!


qwerty123 November 29, 2011 at 6:24 pm

we may not be afraid of the nuke but the jeebs in office are afraid of the repercusions that will come of it with all the human rights fanatics.


Baron von French November 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm

For those of you with the theory that you can't penetrate a mountain…want to sit inside said mountain as the bomb is dropped? Hmmm, didn't think so.


SJE November 15, 2011 at 10:36 pm

Thats the wrong hypothetical. I don't want to sit inside a mountain as its being bombed, any more than I want to be shot wearing a bullet proof vest. Yet, if you are going to be shot, I'd rather have the vest.


KCRedeye November 26, 2011 at 8:50 pm

But guess what……with the right caliber, and proper ammunition…..your bullet proof vest will not protect you, sir!


PenetrateThis December 8, 2011 at 11:58 am

…and if the first one doesn't do it, the B1 carries 2 of these at a time: the second one just gets dropped into the hole the first one made. You can't dig a hole deep enough to hide.


McPosterdoor November 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm

For those of you with the theory that you can't penetrate a mountain… you only have to annihilate the entrances, not the whole facility.


Riceball November 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

Exactly! Because if the underground facility is used to house a factory then it doesn't do much good if you can't get any of the product that you're making out, which is exactly what we'd accomplish by destroying the entrance.


Javier November 16, 2011 at 7:24 pm

The problem is that the annihilated entrances can be easily rebuilt with less cost and effort compared to the destroyed facility.


tiger November 18, 2011 at 6:13 am

Not if you kill the geeks working there. Doors can be replaced. Nuclear Science types blown to hell cannot. That is even better than breaking stuff. You need brains to rebuild any of this equipment.


ampillion November 20, 2011 at 2:08 pm

I strongly disagree. Nuclear Science figures are easily replaceable and Iran has no shortage of nuclear talent. Iranian universities churn out nuclear scientists and engineers by the thousands every year.


Doug Gardner November 15, 2011 at 6:09 pm

Im not worried about Irans military capacity, what concerns me is what Russia or China will do if we strike Iran!


tiger November 15, 2011 at 11:49 pm



TH1 December 30, 2011 at 10:48 pm



Nick T. November 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

They will complain, but because Iran can't buy form then while occupied.


Daedalus November 16, 2011 at 1:31 pm

China and Russia won't do anything.
They only care about ME countries as customers, nothing else.
IN truth, both Russia and China would love to eradicate Islamic Fundamentalism off the map… they have just as much trouble from them as we do.


SJE November 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

I disagree. The big issue is that the Middle East will care. A US strike could spark turmoil that dwarfs the Arab spring. THAT is what Russia and China care about.

1. China is heavily dependent on ME oil (far more than the USA), and wants to protect its interest. If the region is unstable, it stops the Chinese oil supplies.
2. Russia and China both would like to be the dominant players. If the USA misplays its hand, we could see a lot of regime change and we get kicked out of the region. China and Russia would be working to take over.
3. Russia and China both have problems with domestic Muslim opinion. Serious instability in the ME could trigger revolutions etc in their own countries.

As I said earlier, this is all about politics. Iran wants to be the #1 Muslim power, and can get there with nukes or with gaining sympathy from a poorly executed strike against the nukes.

There are no good options for the USA. This will not be like the strikes against the Iraqi or Syrian reactors. Right now, I think we are preparing for war, but pushing as hard as possible to convince the Iranians to abandon the bomb.


tiger November 18, 2011 at 6:17 am

The folks in the street might, but off the record the gulf states governments are on board. Russia & China have no wish to add Iran to the Nuke club.


SJE November 18, 2011 at 9:35 pm

You presume that the governments will remain in power. We were allies with the rulers of Tunisia and Egypt, but they are gone. We were friendly with Qadaffi while he was killing terrorists. Yemen is an ally, but it is falling about. We have a big base in Bahrain, and are friendly with the leadership, but they are fragile.

Need I go on? The regional governments might not want a nuclear iran, but the leadership may sell the USA down the river if they need to stay in power

Ryan November 16, 2011 at 7:42 pm

You should be worried about Iran's ballistic missile forces as Gen. Abizaid noted that U.S. bases in the Gulf countries are well within range of Iran's missile threat. The other thing you need to worry is Iran's terrorist capabilities and they have the ability to strike at U.S interests worldwide (1983 Beirut barracks bombing comes to mind.) Of course, that's not including the oil factor which Iran can use as leverage to drive up oil prices and imperil the fragile world economy.

Iran, despite it modest conventional military, should not be underestimated.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 1:28 am

Yeah the only thing is we got bomb in Beirut because we had balls to call ourselves peacekeepers while having navy bombard southern Lebanon. Sure Iran has Hezbollah except we also have to worry about having the Iranian population. How would you like it if someone invade your country, bombed the capital,then began patrolling the streets.We all now the media will come up with some bullshit "we were greeted as liberators and anyone that hates us are terrorist".People don't like being told what to do, even less so from foreigners.


LibsRHaters November 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Actually, I would love it if a free society’s government would send their armies to free the United States from the dictator in the White House! Mr. Obama has shredded the Constitution by his regime on almost every ammendment! Our military, in their sworn duty to defend the Constitution from all its enemies, both foreign and domestic should have removed this abomination almost as soon as he took office. Mr Obama is a Revolutionary! As such, he is helping his brothers in Islam get control of Middle East. So far, he’s turned a recession into a depression. Real numbers, not govt numbers, of unemployed are the same as during the Great Depression. The reason we still have hussle and bussle is due to borrowed stacks of cash that keep getting pumped into the economy to make a bigger train wreck of it when it does collapse. This is to get rid of our form of government and create a mandate for a “new” Constitution. There’s a Commie in the White House! Why are soo many this dillusional to believe that the way of life the US has been so blessed with will continue? It simply can’t! We can’t expect socialism and communism to save the US! Impeach the Commie! Please, no one shoot him and make him a martyr for Marxism! Freedom will be finished!


oxbow February 6, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Ah, shut up, you moron! Take your nonsensical drivel and shove it up your ass!

Richard Ivey November 22, 2011 at 8:14 pm

I am not so sure that Russia and China would be a concern, under the right leadereship. You may recall that there were those who feel our involvement in Vietnam could have ended several years before1975, but for the Johnson administration being afraid if we bombed targets north of the DMZ it would provoke Russia and China. Turns out under the Nixon administration (and I am not talking about the failed Vietnamization policy) when he finally allowed such bombing and mining of the Hiaphong Harbor it nearly crushed North Vietnam. It brought them back to the negotiating table in Paris. China and Russia did not get involved. At least that is my recollection.


Stan November 15, 2011 at 6:10 pm

Put a "low yeild" nuke in that sucker and we'll talk.


steve November 23, 2011 at 6:10 pm

That "low yield" nuke comes later….when necessary….


Chris November 15, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I can see Slim Pickens riding it down now.


Roy Smith November 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

Uh,Iran & North Korea ALREADY have nuclear weapons,Iran’s courtesy of Pakistan. They(Iran) didn’t have to develop new nuclear warheads,they bought them “off the shelf.” A Russian general verified this. Iran also bought the missiles “off the shelf” from North Korea to deliver their “off the shelf” “made in Pakistan” nuclear warheads. So,all of this BS about Iran being a year away(since when,2001?) from having nuclear weapons is just BS to scare us s**tless & to continue to surrender our civil & constitutional rights to a fascist government(Patriot Act complements of both Bush Sr. & Jr.,Clinton,& Obama).


markanabaptist November 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

That MIGHT be true – but what is the deterrent effect if they are not announced? Clearly having them would be a violation of the NPT – but "Israel" has HUNDREDS of state of the art nuclear devices & delivery systems – why is it "terrism" when Muslims do it – but it is fine when our fiends – oops friends (? – I probably had it right the first time!) do far worse?


LibsRHaters November 26, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Seriously, Mark? You don’t know the difference? You just come out from under a rock? Hezbollah gets missiles from Iran, they shoot them indiscriminately at Israel. Hammas gets missiles from Iran, they do it, too. Israel gets missiles and even a nuke, and never uses them indiscriminately… Uh.. HUH? Why not? Israel, of course, can’t retaliate without creating large numbers of civilian deaths! So, in their civility and respect for life, hunt the terrorists down and kill them instead lobbing bombs and missiles back in their direction… And, you can’t see a difference? Moron!


Maxtrue November 15, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Wrong. We accelerated an enhance nuclear warhead at 100g a back in the 70s on a Hercules booster. Now fire that downward. Gee, that must beyond our technology as well as steering an ablative 6.000 spear. Do the math. Quite a powerful weapon. Put up a Rutan-like platform at 85 ft and you could probably sling two of these spears.

As I said, this kind of directed high velocity is what you need to slice Fordo. The energy potential far exceeds the slower moving monster of 30,000 lbs. How much of this explosive energy will be blasted upwards? You would cause a cubic mile of shatter rock.

And of course this concept has been around for years. The high platforms can be relatively stealthy and drone-refueled. There has been at least five years in which the need for this weapon should have become painfully clear. Rand discussed such hypersonics that avoid ballistic trajectories and provide massive energy releases for almost a decade.



tiger November 16, 2011 at 12:04 am

Guess you need to call DARPA & set them straight.


jumper November 16, 2011 at 7:53 am

Where to start… so you have a couple facts off wikipedia, watched too many Bruce Willis movies, and have a fundenental lack of understanding of the technical details of such a device. Sorry… tried and true technology that we know works beats scifi B movie material anyday.


Maxtrue November 16, 2011 at 8:33 am

So you are saying that we don't have a booster that could accelerate a "spear" downward at +20 machs? You are saying after decades of ablative research and re-entries from space, an ablative mass could not be fabricated? Yes, for a nation that landed on the moon, I guess that is beyond our abilities. Boy, that Waverider is much simpler technology. And the X-37 is even simpler technology. I'm sure Darpa doesn't need my telephone call…..

As for the platforms, again, I'm sure Lockheed which owns Rutan's high flyer cannot be engineered to lift more and be stealthy. As the Rand study concluded a decade ago, hypersonic (kinetic) far surpasses the energy released from MOPs. Why do I have to do your math for you?

Yes, steerable guidance must be tested, but that isn't brain surgery. The fins don't burn off from other re-emtry vehicles. Hell, the Chinese could send some spears down from their platform to be. There seems a US moratorium on such kinetic bombs beyond us dropping concrete instead of munitions. In fact we have nothing on the level of Russian and India fast missiles. Of course, back in the 70s Sprint lifted our warheads to 100gs and more than Mach 7 in seconds. The idea we can't build a hypersonic bomb is BS. I guess we'll wait for China or Russia to surprise us…

P.S. analysis of meteor impacts, their estimated size and speed of impact shows the resultant shattered breccia from the shock wave through soil sampling and computer modeling. Gees, Alverez was doing this research back in the 70s on ancient computers.. If there is some profound scientific fact I have missed, please inform me.


Thomas L. Nielsen November 16, 2011 at 8:46 am

"….we don't have a booster that could accelerate a "spear" downward at +20 machs?" – not one that's been weaponized, and not one that could be carried by something smaller than a B-52.

"….I'm sure Lockheed which owns Rutan's high flyer cannot be engineered to lift more and be stealthy." – You're sure? Based on what?

"The idea we can't build a hypersonic bomb is BS" – Probably. But the question is not if a hypersonic bomb could be developed. The question is, would the effort to do so be worth it?

"….analysis of meteor impacts, their estimated size and speed of impact shows the resultant shattered breccia from the shock wave through soil sampling and computer modeling." – Relevance, please? The type of meteorite that leaves an actual impact crater and "shattered breccia " is orders of magnitude heavier and larger than anything even an An-225 will carry aloft.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


PMI November 16, 2011 at 4:22 pm

"we don't have a booster that could accelerate a "spear" downward at +20 machs?"

—No we don't. Period.

Even test platforms like the X-43 & X-51 don't approach those types of speed & aren't anywhere close to being fielded.

The only current method we would have to get an object with the amount of mass you are talking about up to those speeds would be to loft it into space & rely on re-entry velocities.

I have no idea why you think that would be cheaper, quicker to field & technically less challenging than the GBU-57 but it just isn't the case….and even if they did decide to go that route it's not something that you're going to be able to hang off of an aircraft hardpoint.

And all of that STILL completely ignores the political nightmare using orbital or near orbital ballistic re-entry vehicles for strike packages would be.


Maxtrue November 16, 2011 at 6:31 pm

The Hercules Booster used for the Sprint could lift an enhanced nuclear warhead upwards at 100 gs achieving several machs against gravity in several seconds. See Sprint on Youtube. To suggest that 70's boosters could not be now designed/modified to achieve sufficient 20 mach acceleration downwards WITH gravity is not rational thinking, is it?

Lofting the object into space in the original Rod of God concept means that velocity is achieved purely by gravitational means as mass hurdles downwards. If you loft a spear up to 100.000 ft and then add a booster to its downward velocity, you can indeed achieve mach 20. Our X-51 project, Falcon etc. are able to withstand the friction. Are you suggesting a metallic spear could not withstand the heat if coated with ablative material?

I never said a prototype would be less expensive but the MOP isn't cheap and involves a B-52 that is hardly stealthy. I thought effectiveness is the bar. While large objects have indeed left breccia whose direction of shock-wave is apparent, a spear would obviously generate less shock. I was merely pointing out that such kinetic strikes create a different dispersion of shock waves vs explosive shock-waves from chemical munitions. The force released by the former is far more directionally released and would create more underground damage than a conventional explosive. I am not however, an expert.

Proteus is Owned by Northrop Grumman (sorry, not Lookheed) made by Scaled Composites. It has led to the development of the White Knight. It doesn't take that much to imagine how this approach could loft kinetic weapons over 85,000 ft.. Darpa considers the White Knight a launch platform for the X-37 (Wiki)
One could make a Dark Knight stealthy and with drones below, one could have some protection. This is not an orbital system nor would such weapons released follow ballistic trajectories.

In short, a hypersonic kinetic bomb would be lighter to deliver. steerable, faster than missile defenses and most importantly, able to slice into Fordo like I doubt the MOP will.

If one were to build a spear that could separate into a hundred dispersed spears prior to impact, ships, air fields, ports, bases would not survive the multiple impacts. Of course, I'm not simply making up these concepts and have read various miliblogs and scientific articles that discuss the feasibility of such hypersonic weapons using existing technology.

Maxtrue November 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Given the events unfolding in the ME, I would prefer a hypersonic spear vs a nuclear weapon. Imagine if the MOP won't do.

Willis November 23, 2011 at 2:33 am

Robert A. Heinlen wrote about doing that from the moon in one of his books, I do not remember which one. Maybe " The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" ?


PMI November 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

In The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress the lunar rebels repurpose a mass driver to launch kinetic weapons from the moon's surface to bombard earth.


rrowan1 November 23, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Did you read about the test of the new hypersonic (Mach 5+) bomb?


Maxtrue November 15, 2011 at 11:17 pm

"You (with such a hypersonic spear) would cause a cubic mile of shatter rock (downward and radially from impact point)."

Sorry for the sloppiness…


Thomas L. Nielsen November 16, 2011 at 5:05 am

And your source for that statement is?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


rock isn't glass November 16, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Part 1 / 2

My doubt, too.

1 mile = 1.609 meters.

Even if a 15 tons heavy, CONVENTIONAL , bunker-busting, high-velocity bomb hits one square mile ( = 1.609 meters x 1.609 meters) right in its center and explodes maximally 40 meters under the impact point ( = not just kinetics), how on Earth can it destroy

1) half a mile of mountain to the left and to the right, forwards and backwards ( = 804,5 meters all around it)

and simultaneously

2) barely less than a mile of rock BENEATH it ( 1.609 meters – 40 meters = 1.569 meters. That’s a layer of rock 39 x times thicker than the maximum penetration depth was!) ?

I don’t know the Physics behind this assumption nor which magical explosive powder this new bomb uses (is the poster “Maxtrue” entirely sure it’s conventional?), but it sure looks like an immensely practical alternative to the Soviet, mid-60s attempts at civilian nuclear mining!



rock isn't glass November 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Part 2 / 2

All rubbish, of course: Not even the “Pershing II”’s less than 1 ton heavy, Mach 8 fast penetrator warhead (conventional version) produces one CUBIC mile of rubble in rock!
And in relation to the M.O.P.s in this article : If Nazi bunkers at the SURFACE (like protected U-boat docks) resisted even several direct hits from 10 (T-E-N) tons heavy, British “Grand Slam” bombs totally unscathed (making them even too dangerous to be demolished after the War – it would have taken hundreds of tons of explosives going off too close to big cities), do you really think that maybe using 1,5 x times more explosive than “Grand Slam” bombs will blow through “30 stories of concrete” or produce “a cubic mile of gravel” each time??! How braindead are some posters on here?


Maxtrue November 16, 2011 at 6:43 pm

6000 lbs x mach 20. let's start your math there and remember its kinetic energy striking rock. How far will the shockwave penetrate and radiate to the point of cracking concrete walls below.

tiger November 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

Speak softly & carry a 30,000 lbs. stick……….

Gen. Billy Mitchell would be proud.


Tom November 16, 2011 at 1:06 am

Rogue states with nuclear weapons programs (cough, Israel, cough).


Eric Calabros November 16, 2011 at 11:13 am

if you gift 3 or 4 toys "designed to penetrate 30 stories of reinforced concrete" to a mountain, that poor mountain will be collapsed on itself (especially calcic ones, as Fordo) and whatever under that will experience an earthquake that no construction can tolerate
building facilities under ground was just a Russian plan for Mullahs to splash their oil dollars, not to keep their nuke greed safe


Daedalus November 16, 2011 at 1:36 pm

I wonder if we really need it.

The rumor-mill has it that Israeli agents have planted suitcase nukes in the cornerstones of a ton of buildings that were constructed in the past decade, including these facilities. Now, I wonder (or hope) there's truth to that.


tiger November 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

Please avoid that 9-11 type conspiracy stuff. It will rot the brain.


Uncle Bill November 16, 2011 at 2:09 pm

I bet the Mullahs have an underground bunker, dropping a pair of these there at the right time might be more useful than spreading uranium everywhere.


Joe November 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Now all we need is someone willing to use it.


DOMINGO November 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

My quistion is, is the mountain your talking about could withstand 8 consecutive hits of that elephant bombs (30 stories x 8 ) or more? Moron like me think ,that is going to look like the surface of the moon, and if they try to clean it up, we will send them onother bunch of the same good well to mankind bomb..Our friend Israel, should be given some of those just in case we chicken out or fail to do the JUST CAUSE..DOMINGO


tiger November 18, 2011 at 6:25 am

Israel lacks the planes to carry something this big.


Kski November 18, 2011 at 12:49 pm

If it anit used on Iran we could use to remove nuclear capabilties from say China


Andrew November 19, 2011 at 1:43 am

And what about removing China's other nuclear capabilities, the ones that are hidden somewhere deep beneath the Pacific ocean? Don't tell me that we could use on them as well!


Javier November 19, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Agreed with you. Kski's comment is foolish and shortsighted, considering that China has second-strike capability so any attempt to remove China's nuclear capability will provoke a retaliatory second strike by Chinese subs on U.S. soil. Keep in mind that there is no method for us to prevent or disable an adversary's second strike capability.


LibsRHaters November 26, 2011 at 1:32 pm

That we can thank our liberal Marxist neighbors for right in your own home town. They mocked Pres. Reagan for putting people together to develop “Star Wars”… hehehe. If the US could just get rid of the public school system we have and start all over, we might be able to get away from soo many ignorant fools that come out of it and even post here!


Conservitard November 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Like yourself?

MrB November 19, 2011 at 7:28 pm

The most likely scenario for the recent ‘mishap’ outside Tehran is some form of hypersonic kinetic weapon. It would not take much to have caused the resultant explosion in a munitions facility and an inert kenetic warhead would be virtually undetectable pre and post impact. It has my vote – I certainly hope it is employed in a similar fashion again.


Eldred Mitchell November 22, 2011 at 4:30 pm

As an old "gun plumber" (AFSC46250) I'd live to come back and load one of these bad asses!


Whistle Berries November 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

WOW. This puts a new meaning to the saying: "You can run, but you can't hide."


tecton47 November 22, 2011 at 6:08 pm

I can't &%^$#@ wait to see a video of the test! Videos of the Daisycutter and MOAB are incredible and this will be astounding! It would be so much fun to have one or two of these on the next 4th of July.


Seabee Mike November 22, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Theri designed to blast in, not out.


Mark November 22, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I like this. It goes well with our MOAB. I'm sure the Russians will try to top that.


markanabaptist November 22, 2011 at 7:21 pm

WHY???? according to credible sources that are not along the ZioNazi, read that Synagogue of Satan [Rev. 2:9 & 3:9] controlled media –


Iran is among the few remaining nations that does NOT have a private central bank controlled by the Rothschild Plutocracy – Afghanistan, Iraq, & Libya WERE on that list.
Why not ask the ANTI-Zionist Jews? They NEVER get the time of day on the SoS [see above - Rev. 2:9 & 3:9] controlled media.

REMEMBER YOUR OATH! ALL ENEMIES FOREIGN AND >>>DOMESTIC<<< The day before 9/11, Rumsfeld announced 2.3T$ of what turned out to be CAREER MILITARY PENSION FUNDS >>>MISSING<<< – the next day when the Pentagon was hit [by whatever REALLY hit it!] not only were those records destroyed – CHENEY DID NOT EVEN SOUND THE AIR RAID SIRENS – THE CRIMINAL ELEMENTS WITHIN OUR OWN GOVERNMENT MURDERED THOSE STAFF MEMBERS!!!

How can 2.3 T$ be stolen without the direct treasonous aid of the international banksters that have been wrecking our economy? There is a Satanic Counterfeit of Judaism that created the global fiat Ponzi scheme – the founders – esp Jefferson warned us of what they would do.


Richard Justis November 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

So, gentlemen, after we blow them all to hell, which just may be necessary, or not,
where do we get the fifteen billion it will take to rebuild them ? Because every S.O.B.
on this planet will demand that we do, and our glorious leaders will agree.


E5Gunner November 22, 2011 at 9:21 pm

30 stories of hardened concrete is almost 55 stories of just rock and dirt. I would say that they better put their stuff a little deeper in the mountain if they want to keep it in one piece.
This is basically a small tactical nuke and can be used in a large variety of ways.
These are a little pricy for our budget and I bet no small part is "Administration fees". Grant it the componets are not cheap and assembly is touchy, but when ever the government gets a quote it's already been decided who gets the contract by polititions trading favors and big contributions. By the time the people who really need the equipment get it, it has been market up a dozen times. At one time I was in charge of a ships magazine that contained conventional and nucks. A simple padalock with two keys costs us ovr $900.00 via the "system" and that was in 1966. I founf the same lock at the hardware store for $9.99.


blight November 23, 2011 at 12:20 pm

What probably happened was that those padlocks were "tested" by the contractor following Navy testing requirements, adding onto the cost, especially if the Navy insists on its own "special batch" of product instead of going with Off-The-Shelf.

Procurement is a mystery to me. Alternatively, the procurement contract for padlocks was laundered to move black items through.


Edward J Cox Jr November 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

Do a desert demo in Iran of a 20Kton weapon so they can all see the hell they are staring into…


bigr November 23, 2011 at 9:37 am



sanjosemike November 23, 2011 at 10:52 am

It's not necessary to "bomb Tehran" into the stone age. All that's necessary is to significantly slow down or put Iran's nuclear capability back about 5-10 years. Even 5 years would help significantly.

After such an attack (by Israel or the US), the Mulluhs would lose considerable political strength and would be "viewed" by Iranians as weak. The Iranians could then over-throw the Mulluhs. It's happened all over the ME. There's no reason to suppose it won't happen in Iran too.

The Mulluhs are very much aware of this, believe me. They know how vulnerable they are.



Raven November 24, 2011 at 1:29 am

I disagreed. If anything, the mullahs would actually welcome such an attack since it will rally internal support behind the otherwise unpopular regime and legitimize the regime’s need to acquire nuclear deterrence.


sanjosemike November 24, 2011 at 11:00 am

This argument becomes "psychology of the masses." It is possible to argue both our points logically. But there is a powerful history of the Iranian Gulag, which has enslaved and held the Iranians at bay. I still say that any perceived weakness of the Mulluhs will encourage more demonstrations and attacks against them. Probably it has more to do with the number of civilian casualties after the initial attack. If it is percevied that we are trying to avoid them, it will look like an attack on the Mulluhs, which it basically is.

Don't forget the support (for an attack) involved from Sunni Islam, which is all around Iran. That is also part of this equation. The Sunnis and Shi'as have been at war since 632.



Ben Butler November 23, 2011 at 4:30 pm

Which is going to be worse, budget cuts from Obama or EMP from Iran. Delivery of this bomb could be harder than we think.


JWB November 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

DoD may state unclassified capability and they don't necessarily tell every capability it has, only enough to let the bad guys know they need to watch out. Bin Laden found that we have 2011 A.D. capability and not 200 B.C. style camel fodder. Our people, industry and 200 plus years of freedom and liberty are great but just not perfect. Our Founding Father's plan and Constitution get us that way. Thanks to all who help the U.S.


LtlHugo November 23, 2011 at 4:42 pm

So hard to believe we have so many experts with such a high degree of scientific knowledge here on line, but reading these comments I guess we do????


Don Gaines November 23, 2011 at 5:06 pm

All that and it still can't penetrate Obama stupidity!


PMI November 23, 2011 at 6:47 pm

Hey look a feral non sequitur! Not often you see one of them in the wild.


Blastjet November 23, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Technology has to start somewhere. We didn't go from Edison to the integrated chip in one leap. At least this is something that was actually build to met a specific, definable, realistic threat, not a pie-in-the-sky, the sky-might-fall type threat. That's a step in the right direction. Of course, the next logical step is a drone to delivier such capability…


Albert Merrill November 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

No matter what this will make a h_ll of a hole.


john November 23, 2011 at 6:29 pm

The mountain has an entrance and that is the weak spot to take advantage of.


kdfvwman November 23, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Ahhh, anything with penetration in it's name, coming from the US Government;

I know the feeling! Camel flea copulators take notice!


Glenn November 23, 2011 at 7:35 pm

You have to look awfully hard to find a mpountain in Iran that is 30 stories high. A bomb that can go that deep(nuclear) nothing below that would look like soup.


Henry November 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

All this talk about bunker busters is for naught…just ship the Republicans to IRAN or Korea and the countries will implode


PMI November 23, 2011 at 8:15 pm

And another one. That's two in less than 3 hours!

Let's see if I can try…"Hey the AF has a new bunker buster, Ross Perot has a funny accent."


Salt Lake Silver Fox November 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

about time!!!!!!!


Iceman November 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

B-2? The AF's most survivable bomber? W a t ?


Dennis Fontinel November 23, 2011 at 8:46 pm

I seem to remember (After 21 years in Ammo in the AF {IYAAYAS} ) that the 30,000 lb bunker buster is not a new addition to the AF munitions stockpile!


Chris November 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm

At Maxtrue: You said, "Put up a Rutan-like platform at 85 ft…" You meant
85K right?


Richard Bellam November 24, 2011 at 12:19 am

Don’t let Obama find out you have em.


Jerry J Cowley SR November 24, 2011 at 12:44 am

2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.


Armando I Pena November 24, 2011 at 7:35 am

The message is unmistakeable. A weapon of this type can neuter the armed forces of any foe. This doesn't take into account the super weapons we don't yet know about. One big firecracker!


CJones,SMSgt,Retired November 24, 2011 at 10:05 am

Put out just enough info to let our enemies know that we have what it takes to quiet them. Good planning and follow through Air Force team.


Bill November 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I do hope Israel has a few on order


digimatrix November 24, 2011 at 5:28 pm

Israel lack an aircraft capable of carrying this weapon.


Air Force MSgt Ret November 24, 2011 at 2:51 pm

Yeah, but who's going to pay four million dollars for a hypersonic spear? "Gotta keep those boys at Boeing happy so we get reelected". Don't expect politicians to employ logic or sound tactical and strategic thinking when it comes to defense expenditures. It's all about the campaign financing (and I don't mean military campaign).


Alan Fotoe November 24, 2011 at 2:56 pm

sounds great ,, which ever way you do it .. JUST GETER / DONE..


Guest November 24, 2011 at 6:42 pm

Everyone, us and them are threats alone, no proof. One happening like in Japan, gets the needed respect and believability. Avoid people, get the supposed threat zone. Clean it out clearly showing what we say is real. Our respect will be renewed and let them show how they plan a defense to these showing of defending themselves. Then stock pile some defense mechanisms for their threats. End their willingness to blackmail us with their threats because we will defend those threats clearly.


KW Simmons November 25, 2011 at 7:24 am

a $2 million dollar bomb dropped by a 1.2 billion dollar airplane. Great technology at a price were can no longer afford in this country.


Richard November 25, 2011 at 9:55 pm

If anyone seriously thought that the total cpability of this weapon would be posted on the internet than they need an reality check, really need ne.


DrewD November 27, 2011 at 11:02 am

How many of this bombs components are made in China?


Jasonn November 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Hope we don't waste our tax dollars by letting those suckers sit around and rust.


fritzdadolt November 28, 2011 at 10:38 am

Having only two sub sonic 25 billion dollar each weapons platorm that cant fly in rain storms because the anti radar coating will erode off the surfaces is crazy. Just the cost of the fuel at 30.00/gallon and how many refuelings will it take to get to the target maybe 25 hours later boggles my mind at the cost to deliver this 15 ton bomb. The B1B should have been the weapons delivery airplane of choice. I also think that low yield nuclear weapons delivered by intercontinental missles would be more accurate and get our message delivered faster..


TMax November 29, 2011 at 12:47 am

Ok, so we’re gonna have 16 of these monster bombs which will NOT destroy the bunkers or development \ production facilities making nukes that WILL threaten us in the near future. And, we only have to pay $3.5 million EACH for the first 8 and $4.0 million EACH (12.50% increase) for the second. No one is taking about that!

I’m moved by the patriotism, selflessness, and willingness of the Boeing Corporation to sacrifice for our nation which has been at war for a decade!

Bull! Those fat, bloated, low-life, greedy, F&%Ks would strip the burial garments off their dead mothers, and sell them to put more dollars in their bloated corporate accounts. I’ve watched the “rape of the american taxpayer” by the so-called “military industrial complex” for decades, and they disgust me more with each new “deal”.

We pay more now for one (1) 5th generation fighter jet (which does not function as advertised (i.e. STOVL F-35), than we did (in adjusted dollars), for all the thousands of aircraft procured during WWII.

These corporate leeches on the Tax-dollar, better wise up, before the dollars they crave and gleen so wantonly become totally worthless! Screw the bums!


Joe November 29, 2011 at 10:05 am

"Electromagnetic Pulse"


blight November 29, 2011 at 11:00 am

Good point. Especially as we allegedly used E-bombs in the late '90s and against Iraq. The capability is there….somewhere.

Combining a bunker buster attack with a E-bomb attack might prove useful. Centrifuges and modern equipment are very sensitive to clean electricity and operating without vibration and shock associated with a bombing attack.


John K. December 1, 2011 at 4:24 pm

You don’t have to take out the weapon bunkers under the mountains. Just the leaders with their fingers on the buttons. I would imagine we know where they live and where their bunkers are located.


Phil C Walton December 20, 2011 at 12:37 pm

It might have been cheaper to build a JDAM Kit for a 7 Megaton Titan II Reentry Vehicle too bad we scrapped them. The planning rule was a 5 Megaton weapon would cut a crater 500 feet deep 3/4 of a mile wide not including the plaster zone. I you wish to double the radius of destruction you had to cube the yield which out of the question as the largest nuclear device ever built was the Russian Tzar bomb that was 57 Megatons and was so large that it would lot fit in the Bombay of a Russian Bison they had to cut the bottom out of the aircraft to make it fit under it. You just use multiple weapons consecutively to get as deep as you want to go. But you also have to remember that bed rock of a mountain transmits kinetic energy like it is going out of style and any one in the bunker is going to be killed my the kinetic energy transfer not the blast. For the same reason when you ship something in the mail you uses packing peanuts or shredded news paper to protect your item. If you want to protect a high value nuclear enrichment facility built under the biggest swamp you can find or the deepest sand pit you can find. As both absorb kinetic and don't transmit it well.


PMI November 15, 2011 at 11:00 pm

Because the GBU-57 is relatively cheap & can be fielded quickly whereas your hypothetical ubermissile would be extremely expensive, technically challenging & take years to develop.


Thomas L. Nielsen November 16, 2011 at 2:24 am

Except that in order to carry 0.5 kT of kinetic energy, a Mach 20 penetrator needs to weight some 99 metric tons.

And "Even a 15,000 hypersonic mass driver is deliverable by F-15s". Care to translate that?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 2:11 am

What you're talking about is the Rods of God concept.How much do you think it cost to place a solid tungsten rod in orbit when it cost several grand to send gallon of water to space. Not to mention violating preexistencing treaties stopping the weaponation of space all while the country is mired in debt.


tribulatiotimes November 16, 2011 at 11:09 am

I no doub there is a very big diference….other side Iran is gelogical very active, and eartquaks don´t stop cause A bomb go near and in BattleField 3 happens. rolling eyes.


PMI November 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

Railguns Tom RAILGUNS!!!



Thomas L. Nielsen November 16, 2011 at 1:47 pm

"Awright, gimmeaminutehere…"
"OOOkkkaaay – I found my railgun [displays railgun]. Now what happens?"

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


PMI November 16, 2011 at 8:29 pm

"So if you want a 6,000 pound KE projectile, but you're trying to scale up from 7,000 pound rockets intended to accelerate 150 pound nukes…?"

—And hang it off of an F-15. :|

Max seems unaware that a large part of that initial acceleration spike was because the missile was fired out of the launch cell by an explosive piston. Have fun making an air launch version of that.


Kevin Smithwick November 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

Worse than that Iran is much more populous than a Iraq, Tehran alone has 14 million people. Then again with Iraq never recovered after Desert Storm had been weakened by a decade of sanctions and still cost us hundred of billions of dollars based on bad intel. As for PR I can tell you the news we get is shit, most people in Iran hate the government but are stuck with it. although that will change if we invade. The population will turn against us for destabilizing the country and I wouldn't blame them I would be piss if someone invade my country, bombed the capital,then began patrolling the streets.I would attempt to take up arms against them.


Thomas L. Nielsen November 17, 2011 at 12:47 am

"In short, a hypersonic kinetic bomb would be lighter to deliver" – no it wouldn't. Figure in the additional mass of the booster needed to achieve Mach 20 (or whatever Mach number is needed to get that 0.5 kT impact yield you wanted), then get back to me.

And there's an important difference between an orbital re-entry vehicle and this "hypersonic bomb" concept. When an orbital re-entry vehicle encounters the atmosphere (at roughtly Mach 25), it encounteres the thinnest (upper) part of the atmosphere first. This concept would need to hit Mach 20 in the densest (lower) part of the atmosphere. Could a tungsten rod handle the kinetic heating? Sure. But what size booster would be needed to beat the air resistance into submission?

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Thomas L. Nielsen November 17, 2011 at 2:48 am

"let's start your math there": Okay, let's start. 6000 lbs is approx. 2724 kg, and Mach 20 is roughly 6300 m/s (depending on air density). That gives you a kinetic energy of some 54 GJ, or about 13 metric tons of TNT equivalent.

"and remember its kinetic energy striking rock": Don't expect all that much penetration at those speeds, even with tungsten or DU. The penetrator will shatter, releasing its energy on the surface.

"How far will the shockwave penetrate and radiate to the point of cracking concrete walls below": About as far as the shockwave from a surface detonation of 13 metric tons of TNT.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Maxtrue November 17, 2011 at 10:37 am

I am amazed DT has allowed this exchange. I have seen figures that calculated a near .45 of a Kiloton of energy from the spear I described. I will check Global Security, but my last look was at very old studies posted there. I think the dispute here is about the Pressure and Shock-wave from Spear vs. MOP in destroying underground concrete ceilings and walls.

Obviously, a chemical explosive will release a significant amount of energy in directions other than downward. With a Spear the focus is more narrowed. Not sure what our depleted uranium supplies are but the mass of 6000 of whatever won't simply evaporate upon impact. I am unaware of a nickle-based meteor striking at +20 machs. I will return with the Rand study that did calculate impact energies. Energies release "at surface" travel down as shock-waves, yes? What is the PSI at 50 meters? I assume a forwarding address is available to carry on this conversation.



As for the "technical difficulties" I assume a booster and a high latitude platform is not beyond our capabilities now.


PMI November 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

The important question is who is the pathetic SOB that felt compelled to Christianize Pournelle's awesome 'Project Thor' into the pablum 'Rods from God'.


PMI November 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm

That external launch was paramount in the performance of the interceptor.

It was not only critical in making the time to distance targets attainable (remember this was a relatively short ranged weapon) but was also a primary factor in the top speed by reducing the the total weight of the launch package.

It made it possible to shave thousands of pounds of weight from the Nike-Sprint in the form of fuel that no longer needed to be carried (and accelerated).


Thomas L. Nielsen November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

"I have seen figures that calculated a near .45 of a Kiloton of energy from the spear I described" – I look forward to a reference, to you repeating the calculation for out benefit or to someone rewriting the formula for calculating kinetic energy.

"I will check Global Security" – Please do, then come back to us.

"….the mass of 6000 of whatever won't simply evaporate upon impact" – no, but it will shatter, thus limiting penetration.

"I assume a forwarding address is available to carry on this conversation" – Why? Here's fine.

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Kevin Smithwick November 18, 2011 at 3:17 am

Haha good point, typical military brass mindset."Lets hammer the word of Jesus into our enemies".Until the military grows up from their endless dick measuring contest the tax payer is going to be puerperaly screwed.Sure we can spend money on cutting-edged weapons, but what good are the're.We stuck fighting insurgents using nothing more advance than AK-47s and over glorified booby traps.And this all happens when the generals and politicians send a bunch of kids fresh out-off high school to fight a enemy they only know from half-assed propaganda. The only way these pointless programs get funded is because the same companies hire the brass after they "retire", then the politicians accept campaign contributions from said company. We should spend the money on the grunts doing the heavy lifting-hell up their pay if possible.


tiger November 18, 2011 at 6:08 am

It is apparent we have spies who have given us the info for the specs of the MOP. They did not pull them out the blue. Thus we have geologic as well as structural info on the targets.


tiger November 18, 2011 at 6:23 am

They have a finite amount of nuke staffers. Taking them out is just as good as wrecking hardware. Without them, they can not make more.


Javier November 22, 2011 at 12:30 am

The same dilemma applies to nuke staffers. The only difference is that eliminating those staff poses a far more significant challenge for the U.S. because unlike facilities which are fixed targets, nuclear technicians are highly mobile and do not stay in underground facilities for too long. Their constant mobility makes them less vulnerable to airstrike.

Also, compounding the problem is the fact that the technicians are heavily guarded by the IRGC and VEVAK and they don't put all of them in one place. They give the staff the same treatment as they would their facilities: disperse and hide them across the country. These tactics can complicate the U.S.'s efforts to locate and track them.

Even if the U.S. succeed in neutralizing them, it will only cause setbacks in their nuclear program, not end it. Nuclear staff can be replaced and the replacements can pick up from right where they left off.


digimatrix November 25, 2011 at 12:56 am

There is a potential downside to taking them out: the death of scientists could swell Iran's ranks with fresh recruits.

Here is a quote from Iraqi defector and former nuclear scientist, Khadir Hamza who lost his colleagues in an Israeli strike on Osirak reactor:

"Israel made a mistake. The bombing ended the plutonium effort but began a new program to produce highly-enriched uranium. At the beginning we had approximately five hundred people working, which increased to seven thousand working after the Israeli bombing. The secret program became a much larger and ambitious program."


Raven November 24, 2011 at 1:19 am

Your statement remind me of this excellent article: "Iran Uses Fear of Covert Nuclear Sites to Deter Attack"

Link to article: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=49932


LibsRHaters November 26, 2011 at 1:28 pm

I doubt the ambition was any less before Israeli strike… Iran has sworn weekly for decades now to blow Israel off the map! That ambition has always been there. It’s just ignorant and stupid to assume that Israel defending itself and the region was in anyway hurting its own cause and promoting anti-Israel sentiment any more than it was before the strike. Which rock do the ignorant posters hid under? Looks like we have a missile for that that rock!


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