Monday, September 15, 2008U.S. Building More Bunker Busters
The United States is building up its stockpile of conventional bunker-buster bombs intended to destroy heavily armored WMD assembly and storage sites, USA Today reported today (see GSN, March 27).
The Air Force is expected to test the 20-foot, 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator on a B-52 bomber this fall; it is also considering possible means for dropping the weapon from B-2 aircraft, Air Force spokeswoman Vicki Stein said.
The Defense Department plans to supply U.S. forces in South Korea and the Middle East with smaller bunker-buster weapons.
The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which increased funding for its anti-WMD studies nearly two-fold from 2007 to 2008, is crafting a major role for U.S. airplanes equipped with a new high-precision reconnaissance technology.
The emphasis on aircraft with “Angel Fire” spy equipment, in addition to the boost in bunker-buster bomb production, might be intended to target Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, said GlobalSecurity.org head John Pike (see related GSN story, today).
The new bunker busters were requested by the U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East. The Air Force would not identify specific sites that could become targets, Stein said, adding that the weapons are intended “to defeat hard and deeply buried” sites used for weapons production in “hostile states” (Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today, Sept. 15).
Meanwhile, the Pentagon last week announced plans to sell 1,000 GBU-39 bunker-buster bombs to Israel for $77 million, the Associated Press reported.
Defense analysts said the weapons are unlikely to be effective in a strike on Iranian nuclear sites (Amy Teibel, Associated Press/Google News, Sept. 15).