The world’s largest conventional bomb, GBU-57, by U.S Air Force will be getting a round of upgrades soon. The bomb weights more than F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and has been designed as a ‘bunker buster.’ The upgrades will improve the chance of bomb’s penetration into the concrete structure and will also deliver a high explosive payload. The bomb is officially known as ‘Massive Ordnance Penetrator (OMP). The GBU-57 was designed to attack hardened concrete buildings, specifically those which are underground.
The bomb is 20.5 feet long and has a diameter of 31.5 inches. It weighs around 30,000 lbs. It can penetrate up to 200 feet of concrete, which is reinforced at 5000 pounds per square inch. According to military analysis site GlobalSecurity, just 6000 lbs of the bomb’s weight is explosive. The places MOP will target are the underground command and control sites in countries like Iran and North Korea. These countries have concealed their nuclear activities and delivery systems underground. The MOP bomb is designed to put them at risk and also destroy them when needed.
MOP is carried by the B-2 Spirit bomber. It can carry two bombs at the same time. After being released from the bomber, the MOP is guided to target by a GPS navigation system and a pair of wings. According to an email by the U.S Air Force, the update of the bomb will have “improved the performance against hard and deeply buried targets.” This can mean that the previous penetration power of 200-feet is now history and the bomb will go even deeper in the surface. On the other hand, it can also mean that the bomb will have more explosive in it to cause further damage to the underground target.
In October 2017, The Aviationist posted about an airplane spotter in Missouri which was monitoring an exercise that involved B-2 Spirit bomber. The bomber was reportedly practicing targetting a command post, possible DPRK leadership relocation site. North Korea has almost 6000 to 8000 underground facilities nationwide. Some of which can be used by the country’s leader in case a war erupts. The elimination of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un is considered very crucial in order to prevent North Korea’s nuclear bombs from being used. The exercises conducted in October 2017, certainly involved targeting and eliminating the North Korean leader and his entourage with MOP.
MOP is not the only huge bomb present currently. The GBU-43/B, which is also known as the “Mother of All Bombs” and weighs around 21000 lbs. It includes a 18700 lb warhead made of M6. It has a mixture of cyclotrimethylene terinitramin, TNT, and aluminum. Russia also has a 22,000 lb bomb which is called the “Father of All Bombs.”