MASSIVE WEAPON BEING RUSHED INTO PRODUCTION
By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor and The London Daily Mail
The recent discovery of a second uranium enrichment facility in Iran, near the holy city of Qom, has pushed forward US plans to deploy a massive 15 ton ‘bunker buster’ bomb capable of penetrating any known underground facility. Originally slated by the Bush administration for testing in 2012, sources indicate this weapon could be ready for testing as early as December 2009. Several times larger than the previous version and deliverable only using the B2 bomber, the new bunker buster will give the United States an option of destroying underground nuclear facilities otherwise unreachable without a ground invasion.
The questions about the rush in the development of the weapon all involve Israel. There are no non-nuclear weapons capable of destroying Iran’s facilities as we believe them to exist. Even the nuclear bunker buster which we may or may not have, is not particularly effective, in fact is likely much less effective than the new non-nuclear weapon soon to be deployed.
While Iran talks tough, there are many respected experts who believe their nuclear program is many years away from fruition. Iran needs only to look to Iraq to see where empty talk can and will end them. There is little dout that Iran has been less than honest about its nuclear program.
However, Iran’s rhetoric is both expanded and fictionalized by America’s press. Many statements that resemble threats are purposefully mistranslated and misrepresented and the presence of a substantial "mainstream" movement in Iran, seeking a moderate path is left unreported.
We can hope that President Obama’s decision to rush this superweapon forward is part of a diplomatic initiative, as such things sometimes work much better with teeth behind them, than a plan to forestall a rumored Israeli attack by intitating an American one instead.
VT Senior Editor Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran and regular contributor on political and social issues.
From the UK Daily Mail:
Ultimate bunker buster: U.S military speed plans for 13-ton bomb… but deny Iran nuclear standoff is the reason
The U.S. military is speeding up delivery of a colossal bomb designed to destroy hidden weapons bunkers buried underground and shielded by 10,000 pounds of reinforced concrete.
Call it Plan B for dealing with Iran, which recently revealed a long-suspected nuclear site deep inside a mountain near the holy city of Qom.
The 15-ton behemoth – called the ‘massive ordnance penetrator,’ or MOP – will be the largest non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. arsenal and will carry 5,300 pounds of explosives.
News of the giant bomb, which is about 10 times more powerful than the weapon it is designed to replace, comes just days after it was announced that Barack Obama was to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Pentagon has awarded a nearly $52 million contract to speed up placement of the bomb aboard the B-2 Stealth bomber, and officials say the bomb could be fielded as soon as next summer.
Officials acknowledge that the new bomb is intended to blow up fortified sites like those used by Iran and North Korea for their nuclear programs, but they deny there is a specific target in mind.
‘I don’t think anybody can divine potential targets,’ Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. ‘This is just a capability that we think is necessary given the world we live in.’
The Obama administration has struggled to counter suspicions lingering from George W. Bush’s presidency that the United States is either planning to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities itself or would look the other way if Israel did the same.
The administration has been careful not to take military action off the table even as it reaches out to Iran with historic talks this month.
Tougher sanctions are the immediate backup if diplomacy fails to stop what the West fears is a drive for a nuclear weapon.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates recently said a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably only buy time. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has called a strike an option he doesn’t want to use.
The new U.S. bomb would be the culmination of planning begun in the Bush years.
The Obama administration’s plans to bring the bomb on line more quickly indicate that the weapon is still part of the long-range backup plan.
‘Without going into any intelligence, there are countries that have used technology to go further underground and to take those facilities and make them hardened,’
Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said. ‘This is not a new phenomenon, but it is a growing one.’
After testing began in 2007, development of the bomb was slowed by about two years because of budgetary issues, Whitman said, and the administration moved last summer to return to the previous schedule.
North Korea, led by Kim Jong Il, is a known nuclear weapons state and has exploded working devices underground.
The United States and other countries have offered to buy out the country’s weapons program. The Obama administration is trying to lure Pyongyang back to the bargaining table after a walkout last year.
Iran is a more complex case, for both diplomatic and technical reasons. Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims its nuclear program is peaceful and meant only to produce energy, but the West suspects a covert bomb program that may be only a year or so away from fruition.
‘I don’t really see it as a near-term indication of anything being planned. I think certainly down the road it has a certain deterrent factor,’ said Kenneth Katzman, a specialist on Iran and the Middle East at the Congressional Research Service. ‘It adds to the calculus, let’s say, of Ahmadinejad and Kim Jong Il.’
Details about Iran’s once-secret program have come out slowly and often under duress, as with last month’s surprise confirmation of the hidden underground development site near Qom.
That revelation came a month after the Pentagon had asked Congress to shift money to speed up the MOP program, although U.S. and other intelligence agencies had suspected for years that Iran was still hiding at least one nuclear development site.
The MOP could, in theory, take out bunkers such as those Saddam Hussein had begun to construct for weapons programs in Iraq, or flatten the kind of cave and tunnel networks that allowed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to escape U.S. assault in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2001.
The precision-guided bomb is designed to drill through earth and almost any underground encasement to reach weapons depots, labs or hideouts.
Gordon Duff posted articles on VT from 2008 to 2022. He is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. A disabled veteran, he worked on veterans and POW issues for decades.
Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.
Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world, and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist, and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.