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Bunker buster – Technology of War

There are thousands of military facilities around the world that defy conventional attack. Caves in Afghanistan burrow into mountainsides, and immense concrete bunkers lie buried deep in the sand in Iraq. These hardened facilities house command centers, ammunition depots and research labs that are either of strategic importance or vital to waging war. Because they are underground, they are hard to find and extremely difficult to strike.

The U.S. military has developed several different weapons to attack these underground fortresses. Known as bunker busters, these bombs penetrate deep into the earth or right through a dozen feet of reinforced concrete before exploding. These bombs have made it possible to reach and destroy facilities that would have been impossible to attack otherwise.

In this article, you’ll learn about several different types of bunker buster so you will understand how they work and where the technology is heading.

Conventional Bunker Busters

During the 1991 Gulf war, allied forces knew of several underground military bunkers in Iraq that were so well reinforced and so deeply buried that they were out of reach of existing munitions. The U.S. Air Force started an intense research and development process to create a new bunker-busting bomb to reach and destroy these bunkers. In just a few weeks, a prototype was created. This new bomb had the following features:

  • Its casing consists of an approximately 16-foot (5-meter) section of artillery barrel that is 14.5 inches (37 cm) in diameter. Artillery barrels are made of extremely strong hardened steel so that they can withstand the repeated blasts of artillery shells when they are fired.
  • Inside this steel casing is nearly 650 pounds (295 kg) of tritonal explosive. Tritonal is a mixture of TNT (80 percent) and aluminum powder (20 percent). The aluminum improves the brisance of the TNT — the speed at which the explosive develops its maximum pressure. The addition of aluminum makes tritonal about 18 percent more powerful than TNT alone.
  • Attached to the front of the barrel is a laser-guidance assembly. Either a spotter on the ground or in the bomber illuminates the target with a laser, and the bomb homes in on the illuminated spot. The guidance assembly steers the bomb with fins that are part of the assembly.
  • Attached to the end of the barrel are stationary fins that provide stability during flight.

The finished bomb, known as the GBU-28 or the BLU-113, is 19 feet (5.8 meters) long, 14.5 inches (36.8 cm) in diameter and weighs 4,400 pounds (1,996 kg).

Washington (CNN) — The military’s newest and most powerful ground-penetrating bomb is not intended for Iran’s underground nuclear and weapons facilities specifically, a Pentagon spokesman said Wednesday.

“The system’s not aimed at any one country,” said Pentagon spokesman, Capt. John Kirby. “It’s to develop a capability we believe we need.”

The new Massive Ordinance Penetrator, known as the MOP, is able to explode 200 feet underground and designed to destroy deeply buried and fortified targets such as the ones Iran is believed to have constructed to protect its nuclear research facilities.

“It gives us a far greater capability to reach and destroy an enemy’s weapons of mass destructions that — weapons of mass destruction that are located in well-protected underground facilities, without getting into specifics, to — to a magnitude far greater than we have right now,” Kirby said at a Pentagon briefing.

The Air Force has contracted from Boeing for 20 of the bunker-buster bombs. It took the first delivery in September, according to Pentagon official. The official, citing operational security limitations, would not provide details about how many have been delivered.

There were three separate orders placed by the Pentagon with the final one placed in August. The bomb is said to be more than 20 feet long and 30 inches in diameter and weighs some 30,000 pounds (13,600 kilos).

It is more powerful than its predecessor, the BLU-109, and is a “relatively simple weapon,” according to information posted by the military’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency.

“The MOP relies on gravity to turn its massive weight into tremendous kinetic energy. Designed to penetrate supposedly untouchable facilities in one piece, the MOP will defeat our adversaries’ (weapons of mass destruction) before they leave the ground,” according to the description on the website.

Air Force Lt. Gen. James Kowalski talked about the bomb in a speech in suburban Washington in September when discussing Air Force capabilities to deliver long-range payloads, saying the MOP “giv(es) the warfighter increased capability against hardened and deeply buried targets.”

Comments
One Response to “Bunker buster – Technology of War”
  1. Salim says:

    Why don’t we think peace and be ready for dialog if we really believe on a safe world. developing huge amount of technologies that drive heavily damages into living people didn’t make good memory in this World. I believe we need to admit the right of everyone

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