Friday, July 27, 2007

The U.S. is retrofitting its B-2 Stealth bombers with massive bunker-buster bombs – a move that could be a prelude to an attack on Iran and its nuclear facilities.

Iran has refused to comply with international demands that it stop its nuclear weapons programs.

Experts have noted that a U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear program could be difficult due to the large number of installations – some of which are buried deep underground in hardened bunkers.

In a recent NewsMax Magazine, Kenneth R. Timmerman’s report “The Coming War with Iran: 6 Days of Hell” predicted the U.S. would outfit B-2’s as a prelude to an attack on Iran.
Apparently the U.S. has big plans for Iran.

Northrop Grumman announced last week in a little noticed release that the company had begun integrating on the B-2’s a new 30,000-pound-class “penetrator bomb” or bunker buster.

“The U.S. Air Force’s B-2 Stealth bomber would be able to attack and destroy an expanded set of hardened, deeply buried military targets” using the monster bunker buster, the company said in its release.

The company is doing the work under a seven-month, $2.5 million contract awarded June 1 by the Air Force’s Aeronautical Systems Center, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.

Northrop Grumman is the Air Force’s prime contractor on the B-2, the flagship of the nation’s long-range strike arsenal.

The new Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which is being developed by the Boeing Co., is a GPS-guided weapon containing more than 5,300 pounds of conventional explosives inside a 20.5-foot-long enclosure of hardened steel. It is designed to penetrate dirt, rock and reinforced concrete to reach enemy bunker or tunnel installations.

The B-2 is capable of carrying two MOPs, one in each weapons bay.

“This integration contract is part of Northrop Grumman’s on-going effort to ensure that the B-2 remains capable of delivering a decisive blow to an increasingly sophisticated enemy,” said Dave Mazur, vice president of long-range strike for the company’s Integrated Systems sector.

“It is the first step in helping the Air Force make this new weapon available for operational use on the B-2.”

According to Mazur, the Air Force is expected to make a decision later this year on whether to develop a limited operational capability for the MOP, or to proceed with a more comprehensive development program that would optimize the weapon’s operational utility.

The current contract will focus on adapting the B-2’s weapon bay fixtures to accommodate the new weapon.

The B-2 is currently equipped to carry up to 40,000 pounds of conventional ordnance.