War planners in the American government conclude their 30,000 pound bunker-buster bomb, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is not suitable for penetrating nuclear fortifications in Iran, and seek an additional $82 million to improve its effectiveness.
Already having spent around $330 million on 20 of the MOPs - designed to take out fortifications in Iran and North Korea, and built by Boeing - initial tests show the bomb, as currently configured, is incapable of destroying some Iranian facilities, because of their depth or because of Iran’s addition of new protective fortifications, and now the Obama administration is seeking additional money to ensure the weapon’s effectiveness.
“The development of this weapon is not intended to send a signal to any one particular country, said Pentagon press secretary George Little, the Wall Street Journal reports. “It’s a capability we believe we need in our arsenal and will continue to invest in it.”
Variables such as stone, rock, and soil density affect the MOPs ability to inflict damage to its intended target, and while the bomb as currently configured could cause “a lot of damage,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta notes improvements are necessary for its success.
“We’re developing it. I think we’re pretty close, let’s put it that way. But we’re still working at it because these things are not easy to be able to make sure that they will do what we want them to do,” Panetta added, according to the WSJ.
Although Iran has repeatedly denied the pursuit of a nuclear bomb, both the U.S. and Israel remain unconvinced. In his State of the Union address in January, President Barack Obama said, “Let there be no doubt: America is determined prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal.”
Last week, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, “Dealing with a nuclearized Iran will be far more complex, far more dangerous and far more costly in blood and money than stopping it today.”
The 20-foot long MOP carries over 5,300 pounds of explosive material and is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground, according to the Air Force, WSJ notes.
Iran’s Fordow enrichment facility is believe to be concealed beneath a mountain at least that tall.