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Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator 381

Posted by Soulskill
from the mopping-up dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "In an age of drones and lightweight weaponry, the U.S. Air Force's purchase of the first batch of 30,000-pound bombs designed to pulverize underground enemy hide-outs highlights the military's need to go after hard and deeply buried targets. The weapon's explosive power is 10 times greater than its bunker-buster predecessor, the BLU-109 and it is nearly five tons heavier than the 22,600-pound GBU-43 MOAB surface bomb, sometimes called the 'mother of all bombs.' 'Our past test experience has shown that 2,000-pound penetrators carrying 500 pounds of high explosive are relatively ineffective against tunnels, even when skipped directly into the tunnel entrance,' says a 2004 Pentagon report on the Future Strategic Strike Force. 'Instead, several thousand pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow down blast doors and propagate a lethal air blast throughout a typical tunnel complex' (PDF). Experts note that the military disclosed delivery of the new bunker-busting bomb less than a week after a United Nations agency warned that Iran was secretly working to develop a nuclear weapon and is known to have hidden nuclear complexes that are fortified with steel and concrete, and buried under mountains. 'Heck of a coincidence, isn't it?' says John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org."
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Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator

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  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by paiute (550198) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:22AM (#38085862)
    Why tell potential targets how big a bomb you have and how deep it will penetrate? They can just go deeper and pour more concrete. What happened to surprise?
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@nOsPAm.gmail.com> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:25AM (#38085900) Journal

      Usually the target lowers its defenses if they know you have a big missile :D

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by benjamindees (441808)

        Gee I wish we had one of them doomsday machines.

      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Informative)

        by captainpanic (1173915) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:48AM (#38086292)

        Agreed. The primary function of weapons is to discourage the opponents, not to harm.
        But in order to be scary enough to discourage the other guys, it actually has to be able to cause harm. And lots of it.

        And in fact, it works even better if your message to the leaders of the bad guys is that you can get a bomb into their supposedly safe bunkers, and get personal on them. That's a pretty good deterrent, and will probably ensure that you never have to use that bomb.

        And secondly, this bomb will make you Yankees look less of an a** when some Afghan guys are hiding in a mountain. Mountains turned out to be pretty awesome bunkers.

      • Giggety, giggety.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mx+b (2078162) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:26AM (#38085926)
      I'm sure there's a lot of propaganda in any such statement. It's probably a "made-up" number very close to intelligence estimates in order to be kind of a "we know what you're doing" sort of statement, meant to shake up targets and hopefully make them more willing to negotiate first. The actually specifications are almost assuredly not what was released.
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheCarp (96830) <sjc&carpanet,net> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:27AM (#38085940) Homepage

      Because you have no intention of actually using them.

      The point here is not to be ready for a war with Iran, the point is to justify defense contractor jobs, keep the budgetary money flowing, and give Iran an excuse to do the same and give us more excuses later.

      Seriously, have you been sleeping?

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jo_ham (604554) <joham999NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:28AM (#38085960)

      It's like protection of the President - you can see all the showy stuff with the Secret Service guys in black suits and sunglasses, holding their finger to their ear to listen to an earpiece... those are the guys they want you to see.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by iblum (894775) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:30AM (#38085990)
      Because digging deeper and pouring more concrete costs money. Money that they could instead be spending on the Nuclear research. the more expensive and dangerous we make their nuclear program, the more likely they are to give it up.
      • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by s4m7 (519684) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:59AM (#38086442) Homepage

        the more expensive and dangerous we make their nuclear program, the more likely they are to give it up.

        That would be true if you were dealing with a straightforward external cost-benefit analysis scenario. When speaking of Iran, that's not the case. Iran has enormous internal pressure to keep up the appearance of being a threat to Israel. In order to make that cost-benefit scenario work from a political standpoint, you'd have to make the expense and danger greater than the existing implied threat of being nuked by Israel.

        You're absolutely right about the other part, however. If our intel suggests that they've already constructed tunnels of depth X, it may cause their development process to slow down while they re-engineer existing infrastructure, and it will certainly cause them to import more concrete and other building supplies. Various governmental and past-governmental monied interests are well invested in the "international" firms that don't have to abide by the embargoes, and can therefore supply these contracting services and make substantial money from it

        Cheney, I'm looking at you.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:32AM (#38086032)

      Why tell potential targets how big a bomb you have and how deep it will penetrate? They can just go deeper and pour more concrete. What happened to surprise?

      That's part of the point of having such a weapon. The effort that a potential foe puts into negating the weapon can be more beneficial than use of the weapon in actual warfare. Nuclear bombs are the classic example.

      Another example is China's current efforts. They do this all the time with weapons systems meant as foils for aircraft carriers and other expensive pieces of US hardware. Make a new missile or a fancy new sub, even if you never make many of them, and then the US has to devise a counter.

      • Deprecated (Score:5, Insightful)

        by srussia (884021) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:42AM (#38086198)

        The effort that a potential foe puts into negating the weapon can be more beneficial than use of the weapon in actual warfare. Nuclear bombs are the classic example.

        That M.A.D. example has been deprecated. The new canonical example is "threat of 9/11-style terrorism".

      • Now that we have de-commissioned the super big nukes (because we've established a defacto lack of willingness to use them...) we need the bigger conventional bombs that will accomplish the same kinds of things. 5000lbs of high explosive delivered in the front door is more destructive than 20 megatons shoved out the back of a B-52 from 45,000 feet with no guidance other than an altitude detonation trigger.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by NevarMore (248971) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:36AM (#38086090) Homepage Journal

      Why tell potential targets how big a bomb you have and how deep it will penetrate? They can just go deeper and pour more concrete. What happened to surprise?

      I have a friend who served in the Gulf War (the first one) and drove one of the missile systems. He often said, "The range *that we were allowed to know about* was 50km". I forget the exact numbers, the point is that frequently what the published capabilities and what the real capabilities of a weapons system is are often significantly different.

    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mr1911 (1942298) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:55AM (#38086386)

      Why tell potential targets how big a bomb you have and how deep it will penetrate? They can just go deeper and pour more concrete. What happened to surprise?

      Because moving a nuclear weapons development facility 20 feet deeper into the ground is a hell of a lot harder than getting off of your lazyboy to get another bag of Doritos.

      Secondly, you assume the advertised capabilities of the bomb are correct?
      A: The bomb will penetrate X feet of hardening.
      B: We will build our new complex X+15 feet deep.
      Millions of dollars and years of construction later
      A: Oh yeah, that bomb will actually penetrate X+30 feet of hardening.
      B: Oh shit.

    • by Surt (22457)

      You tell them you have a bomb that will go five miles deep. This forces your opponent to spend a lot of money digging themselves in 6 miles deep. You don't even have to have said bomb for this strategy to work.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      You might want to watch Dr. Strangelove.

    • by xhrit (915936)
      >Why tell potential targets how big a bomb you have and how deep it will penetrate? They can just go deeper and pour more concrete.

      First point I would like to make is that most statistical data about active weapon system is classified, and any publicly available numerical descriptions of said data is pure misinformation. For example, the speed of US aircraft carriers is top secret. Nimitz class carriers are stated as having a speed of over 30 knots but few people know exactly how fast they can really
  • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:29AM (#38085982)

    Like Deep Impact, perhaps?

  • I think a Middle Eastern friend of ours who has a few issues with Iran will be very interested in a few of these. Look for them to announce development of a stunningly similar weapon after a few smoking holes are left in Natanz.
  • All underground complexes have entrances on the surface.

    Won't bombing those entrances achieve much of the objective by essentially burying the underground target?

    How long it will take the enemy to reconstruct the entrance to the target?

    • by khallow (566160)

      Won't bombing those entrances achieve much of the objective by essentially burying the underground target?

      IMHO, not even close.

      How long it will take the enemy to reconstruct the entrance to the target?

      I figure it won't take more than a few days. My view is that you have to break the actual hardware. A new entrance is easy to dig out. Rebuilding a reactor or uranium refining facility would take considerably longer.

    • by mlts (1038732) *

      Bunkers are not bank vaults. From what I've seen a number of underground bunkers tend to have multiple entrances, even if some are just used for ventilation. Even smaller bunkers tend to have at least two ways out, as some are designed to deal with someone trying to put car exhaust down the vent shaft.

      If a bunker just had one entrance, people inside would suffocate shortly after the main door is slammed shut.

      • Some have exhaust ports [wikia.com] as well!

        Use the force, anonymous Air Force pilot...

      • That's not necessarily helpful, shockwave encounters high pressure areas less.

        It's probably good to have a back door, but remember these things are designed to send a shockwave through your bunker... litterally vaporzing you with pressure. STP x Y0,000 or so.
    • by cobrausn (1915176) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:38AM (#38086120)
      First, I would not like to be one of the researchers / technicians / soldiers stuck underground and trapped for an indeterminate period of time after a bomb like this drops the only entrance. Depending upon how long it takes, its entirely possible that destroying the entrance could kill off a lot of the talent necessary to make the weapons as they all starve to death or suffocate deep underground. It's a hell of a deterrent.

      Second, the reconstruction efforts would have to take place on or near the surface, which is in range of more conventional weaponry (cruise missiles, JDAM bombs, etc...).

      Third, though I am not generally opposed to an army owning powerful and highly specialized weapons, I get the feeling that just having these makes a first strike option against Iran seem like a more viable option. I don't like this.
      • just having these makes a first strike option against Iran seem like a more viable option. I don't like this.

        Negotiations without this option have not gone particularly well, maybe this will move negotiations along a little?

      • Even the summary says they weren't able to kill everyone in the bunkers by skipping smaller bombs into the entrances. Like dropping them IN the bunker. This new bomb says "If it hits the bunker, everything inside dies".

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      All underground complexes have entrances on the surface.

      Won't bombing those entrances achieve much of the objective by essentially burying the underground target?

      How long it will take the enemy to reconstruct the entrance to the target?

      The problem is ensuring that you have hit all entrances.

      • by Discopete (316823)

        One of the earlier reports (about 6-8 months ago or so) on this weapon had a quote from one of the test engineers saying that the detonation was not unlike a tsunami. A very high pressure wave followed by an ignition that 'flowed around corners like water'. This thing was designed to kill everything in an underground complex with one hit, regardless of number of entrances.

    • by mr1911 (1942298)

      All underground complexes have entrances on the surface.
      Won't bombing those entrances achieve much of the objective by essentially burying the underground target?
      How long it will take the enemy to reconstruct the entrance to the target?

      So by this logic we should just put crazy glue in the door locks of car bombers?

    • I always wondered if it was possible to just deny access to the underground complexes, or make it very difficult.

      These facilities are usually located in hard to get to locations, either because they want to bore into the side of a mountain, or they want them to be hard to find.

      First wave would be to hit the roads and infrastructure delivery systems (power, water, etc) with whatever weapon does the most damage. Second wave, closer to the entrances, air deliver anti-tank barriers booby-trapped with mines to

  • by LoP_XTC (312463) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:34AM (#38086060)

    Does this one still require a 25 point killstreak to deploy?

  • George Carlin (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:35AM (#38086072)
    This is George Carlin's "bigger dick" foreign policy ("What? They have bigger dicks? BOMB THEM") at work. Now we are taking it a step further and talking about how deep our "bombs" will penetrate. Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it might help to have more women in positions of power?
    • Re:George Carlin (Score:5, Insightful)

      by judoguy (534886) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:40AM (#38086150) Homepage
      Seriously?? Have you ever seen girls fight?
    • No, we'd go to war once a month and then cry about it a few days later (not actually serious, )
    • Oh hell no. Male anger is nothing compared to female cattiness :-P

    • by circletimessquare (444983) <<circletimessquare> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:07PM (#38086544) Homepage Journal

      you would see worse conflicts, lasting longer periods of time

      the lie is that women are less violent. the male mode of conflict is physical sudden severe and swift, and then over, and everybody moves on. the female mode of conflict is longer term social violence: sabotage, character assassination, propaganda campaigns, name calling. of course it isn't physical violence, but it is still violence

      if you compare physical violence amongst boys in elementary school, the boys are off the charts compared to the girls. but if you compare social violence amongst girls in elementary school, the girls are off the charts, to a greater degree than the physical violence the boys exhibit

      the lie is that women are less violent than men. men are more physically violent, but their violence is short, strong, stupid, and over quickly, and then everyone is friends again. the female mode of violence is longstanding, complicated, highly vicious, and scorched earth: permanently psychologically scarring

      women are off the charts when it comes to social violence. if women were in power you would see psychological warfare like you've never seen, and it would last a long, long time, and teh game would be played for serious detrimental effects. it would be soft power, economic and cultural, but played out to such a vicious extreme that the other country would be bereft of all confidence, culture, economy, or any other sort of ability to function as a normal society

      • if women were in power you would see psychological warfare like you've never seen, and it would last a long, long time, and teh game would be played for serious detrimental effects. it would be soft power, economic and cultural, but played out to such a vicious extreme that the other country would be bereft of all confidence, culture, economy, or any other sort of ability to function as a normal society

        I'm not going to dispute that women can be truly horrible. Hell hath no fury, as they say. But in recent

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Reziac (43301) *

        This is precisely my own observation, speaking as a professional dog trainer -- it's just the same with dogs. If you have a fight between males, they beat each other up, settle their differences, then go have a beer together. But females fight to kill, and they never forget who it was they decided had to die... and they will go to great lengths to achieve that.

        Not to sound like a sexist pig, but IMO a lot of the social problems we see today are because of female-style solutions (precisely as you describe, d

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      My experience is that women fight less often but far more ferociously when they do fight. I would expect a world run by women to have fewer wars, but no "rules of war". In particular mothers get real dangerous when they are protecting their children.

      It probably would not be a safer world over-all. While things like the invasion of Iraq probably would not have hapened, a woman's solution to things like the post 9/11 invasion of Afghanistan would probably have been less "send american troops into danger to o

    • Re:George Carlin (Score:5, Informative)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:29PM (#38086862) Homepage

      Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it might help to have more women in positions of power?

      Hmmm, I really [wikipedia.org] don't [wikipedia.org] think [wikipedia.org] so [wikipedia.org].

      There's absolutely no evidence that female leaders are less willing to go to war than male leaders. It is of course less common, but that has more to do with women being much less likely to be political and military leaders than men.

    • Re:George Carlin (Score:4, Insightful)

      by TheTyrannyOfForcedRe (1186313) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @01:09PM (#38087510)

      Do you think that maybe, just maybe, it might help to have more women in positions of power?

      Wow, you don't understand women at all! They are easily offended. They hold grudges forever. They never "attack from the front". Instead, they work to subtly undermine and destroy their enemies often using innocent third parties (who get fucked in the process) to do the dirty work.

      Surprise! Women are just as shitty as men, in different and more concealed ways.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:40AM (#38086146) Homepage Journal

    I'm confused. Wasn't the U.N. that organization which was lying when it said Iraq had no wmds?

    The one we called liars but when we sent not one, not two, but three teams of our own investigators after we had invaded Iraq to find the wmds which we knew were there, found that the multiple reports that had come out were correct?

    It would be nice if people would make up their minds. Either the reports generated by the same organization are false or they're not. Pick one.

    • by s4m7 (519684)
      Confirmation bias [wikipedia.org]

      Or, it could be that DIA is learning its lesson and trusting a source that's proved to be credible in the past... you decide which you think is the more likely explanation.

  • by Sez Zero (586611) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @11:43AM (#38086214) Journal

    "The Massive Ordnance Penetrator is a weapon system designed to accomplish a difficult, complicated mission of reaching and destroying our adversaries' weapons of mass destruction located in well-protected facilities," Lt. Col. Melinda F. Morgan, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a statement.

    Despite the difficult and complicated mission, Boeing opted for a fairly simple solution: pack in more weight and explosives to blow the shit out of the target.

    Could the next Slashdot Poll be to rename this new weapon system? Please, pretty please?

  • by unity100 (970058) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:04PM (#38086510) Homepage Journal
    The government does not have the funds to keep social security and education budgets up,
  • Priorities. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:07PM (#38086554)

    But "Obama care" would cost too much?

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:08PM (#38086576)
    I'm so glad we have our priorities straight, and are still building up a massive arsenal against that imaginary enemy of ours.
  • by Grand Facade (35180) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:13PM (#38086658)

    How can they hide the construction of underground bunkers?

    This is not an easy task and requires many trucks and people and there will be a tailings pile as big as the complex.

    At night infrared would show hot trucks disappearing into a mountain.

    Are they that smart to fool the watchers?

  • by couchslug (175151) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:25PM (#38086812)

    The MOP is dirt cheap so far, and unlike nuclear weapons, conventional bombs have very wide application.

    MOP raise the cost of ALL conventional shelters intended to be survivable, such as dug-in North Korean artillery emplacements.

    MOPs would have been nice to have over Afghanistan (Tora Bora) and over Libya to gut Qaddafist bunkers.If the enemy is buried deep enough, he can be sealed in for good if he isn't killed outright. Recovery efforts on a military installation are military action and can be lawfully attacked.

    If Jihadist nuclear installations are "dead and buried" they pose much less contamination threat to civilization.

    • Recovery efforts on a military installation are military action and can be lawfully attacked.

      Only if the war is lawful. It is a war crime to begin an unlawful war, and/or to prosecute it in any fashion whatsoever.

  • by intnsred (199771) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @01:50PM (#38088050) Homepage

    "... less than a week after a United Nations agency warned that Iran was secretly working to develop a nuclear weapon..."

    That is not what the UN warned or reported. The headline is repeating western propaganda. Read this [guardian.co.uk], this [straight.com], this [counterpunch.org], or this [rt.com].

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