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Future 30,000-pound bomb reaches mile stone

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Stephen Linch
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Air power was taken to a new level when a team of weapons specialists loaded a 20-foot mock bomb into the bomb bay of a simulated aircraft here Dec. 18.

This wasn't just any fake bomb or aircraft. The bomb was a mock up of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000 pound bomb that has yet to enter production. The aircraft was a mock up of the world's premier bomber, the B-2.

Many of the weapon specialists involved in the fit-test on the B-2 replica used for weapons training said they were amazed by the sheer size of the bomb.

"I couldn't help but notice how enormous the bomb was hanging in the weapons bay," said weapons loader Tech. Sgt. Jason Hermann, 509th Maintenance Group. "It looked much larger once we had loaded it into the weapons bay than when it was on the loading adapter."

The bomb

The MOP is approximately 20.5 feet long, with a 31.5-inch diameter and a total weight of slightly less than 30,000 pounds. The weapon will carry over 5,300 pounds of explosive material and will deliver more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor, the BLU-109. It is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding.

The bomb's development started in 2004 when the Air Force executed a contract with Boeing for the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an agency that safeguards America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the threat.

The weapon is guided by Global Positioning System navigation. Its cropped wings improve agility and storable grid fin controls facilitate internal carriage.

"This awesome weapon reeks of strategic deterrence," said Col. Bob Dulong, 509th MXG commander. "America's enemies will know the destructive power of this weapon in our arsenal and they should modify their behavior, lest they learn of this weapon from first hand experience."

The delivery system

The B-2 Spirit is a multi-role bomber capable of delivering both conventional and nuclear weapons. Its low-observable characteristics give it the unique ability to penetrate an enemy's most sophisticated defenses and strike its most valued and heavily defended targets without the enemy detecting its presence.

"The B-2 is air power at its purest, most elegant and deadliest form," said Col. Garrett Harencak, 509th Bomb Wing commander. "(It is) an aircraft that cannot be denied access with its range, payload, precision and stealthiness; it has everything that is required to hold at risk any of America's enemies anywhere, anytime - and we can do it from right here in Knob Noster or at a forward deployed location."

A lethal combo

Northrop Grumman started integrating the MOP to this elite bomber in July 2007.

The B-2 will be able to carry two MOPs, one in each bay, which will be mounted to the existing forward and aft mounting hardware currently in the B-2.

"Even smart bombs paired up with the world's greatest strike platform are useless without smart people, fortunately for America we have them in abundance here at Whiteman," Colonel Harencak said. "Here at the world's only B-2 wing, we prepare every day to hunt down and destroy America's enemies.

"Matching the B-2 with the MOP makes for a lethal combo," Colonel Harencak said. "The B-2 is the world's greatest strike aircraft -- because what you can't see you can't hit and if you can't hit it, you can't stop it, and if you can't stop it that means there is no sanctuary for America's enemies anywhere on this globe."