Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nukes? Ha! Who needs 'em?

Here's a fascinating article: MOPping Up: The USA's 30,000 Pound Bomb.

During World War II, the US developed some truly huge bombs. For example, the "Grand Slam" packs a 22,000lb blast (11 ton).

Development of these pretty much stopped after nuclear bombs were invented. For comparison, "Little Boy" (dropped on Hiroshima) and "Fat Man" (dropped on Nagasaki) were 15T and 21T, respectively.

Today, however, it is unacceptable to use nukes. It is especially unacceptable to use them for taking out small targets (like underground bunkers). So the US has gone back to the drawing board and is developing new, terribly powerful, conventional bombs.

The first of these, the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is a 30,000lb (15T) bomb. That is as powerful as Little Boy, but without any nukes. Which means it can be dropped on a battlefield without poisoning the landscape for centuries. Initial tests show that it can penetrate through 60' of concrete. My guess is that the goal here is to be able to take out Iran's underground nuclear development labs.

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