For Iran, Pentagon Wants a Bigger Bomb

Current 'bunker busters' don't go deep enough

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 28, 2012 8:46 AM CST

(Newser) – The US military's largest conventional bomb is the 30,000-pound "bunker buster," or Massive Ordinance Penetrator, designed to take out fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or North Korea. Now, the Pentagon has decided it's not big enough, and is asking for $82 million to make the bomb penetrate deeper into concrete, rock, and steel, reports the Wall Street Journal. "We're still trying to develop them," defense chief Leon Panetta told the newspaper. "I think we're pretty close."

President Obama has said he "is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon," and while his administration prefers diplomatic approaches, the president has asked the Pentagon for more options. The military has spent about $330 million so far developing 20 MOPs, and the new money is designed to make them even better. "The development of this weapon is not intended to send a signal to any one particular country," said the Pentagon press secretary. "It's a capability we believe we need in our arsenal and will continue to invest in it." Click to read how the Pentagon is working on a "mothership" for the Gulf, too.

This undated artist's rendering provided by Boeing Co. shows a massive ordinance penetrator or MOP bomb made by Boeing Co. The US military is asking for $82 million to improve the bomb.
This undated artist's rendering provided by Boeing Co. shows a "massive ordinance penetrator" or MOP bomb made by Boeing Co. The US military is asking for $82 million to improve the bomb.   (AP Photo/Boeing Co.)
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