Tuesday, October 30, 2007|
Pentagon Seeks Huge New Bunker-Buster For Iran
WASHINGTON — The Democrat-controlled
Congress is examining a request to develop a new bomb designed
for a U.S. air strike on Iran.
The Bush administration wants $88 million for the
production of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The
30,000-pound conventional bomb, meant for deployment by the
B-2 aircraft, would be the most powerful bunker-buster ever
Analysts agree that MOP was designed to destroy Iranian and
North Korean underground facilities, such as Iran's Natanz
uranium enrichment plant, Middle East Newsline reported. The
bomb was said to be able to penetrate more than 65 meters of
"It'll go through it like a hot knife through butter," John
Pike, a leading U.S. weapons analyst, told Congressional
The administration did not explain
the use of MOP. A White House statement cited "an urgent
operational need from theater commanders" in its funding
request to modify B-2s to carry MOP.
"We are not authorizing Bush to use a 30,000-pound bunker
buster," Rep. Jim McDermott, a Washington Democrat, said,
according to the Congressional Quarterly report. "They've been
banging the drums the same way as they did in 2002 with Iraq."
MOP has been developed by Boeing, which completed the first
test of the bunker-buster in March 2007. Two months later,
Northrop Grumman, won a $2.5 million contract from the U.S.
Air Force to modify the B-2 to carry the new weapon.
"We need to have this as a conventional weapon," Rep. Norm
Dicks, a Washington Democrat and a member of the House Defense
Appropriations Subcommittee, said. "It adds to our deterrent."
"I would characterize it as routine," Defense Secretary
Robert Gates said. "The focus that we all have is on using
diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to persuade the
Iranian government that they are isolated, they need to alter
their policies and ambitions."
The Democratic-led Congress has been divided over whether
to fund U.S. military preparations for any war with Iran. Most
of the Democratic leadership has warned that a U.S. air strike
on Iran's nuclear facilities would result in a major war in
the Middle East ahead of the U.S. elections in November 2008.
Original article: World Tribune
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