Written by Dabney B. on Friday, July 27th, 2012
Nuclear weapons may represent the ultimate in military technology, but there’s one countermeasure that has been foiling the atomic bomb since its creation: a shovel. Yes, the world’s most powerful weapon can be negated by digging a big hole and hiding in it. Underground enemy bunkers have been frustrating for the US military because they are almost impossible to detect and they are extremely difficult to take out. In fact, bunker busting has been such a tricky hurdle to jump that some scientists have considered building an orbital bombardment weapon that sends enormous telephone-pole-sized tungsten rods to Earth as a way to penetrate bunkers.
The USAF won’t have to resort to creating manmade meteors quite yet — they’ve recently finished developing a bomb that should do the job just fine. The Massive Ordinance Penetrator (you can tell by the name that this thing means business) is a 30,000 lb bomb that’s built to shatter the Earth’s crust and demolish any hidden underground bunkers. These bad boys can break through 60 solid feet of 5,000 psi concrete, about three times deeper than the next best bunker buster.
What’s weird about the MOP is that, by comparison, it’s not really all that explosive. You’d think that the 15-ton bomb is chock-full of stuff that goes boom, but compared to other bombs in its class it isn’t really bigger or badder. MOP’s predecessor, the Massive Ordinance Air Burst bomb, consists of about 90% of explosive material. Only 20% of the MOP’s mass is geared towards exploding.
So, what’s the source of all of that extra weight? It’s all in that thick, heavy casing. The bombs need extremely strong casings in order to withstand the impact and survive the journey deep into the surface of the earth. Think of it like this: they didn’t build a bigger bomb, they just strapped the same bomb onto the front of a Medieval-style battering ram so that there’s nowhere to hide. This battering ram casing will make the bomb so absurdly heavy that only a handful of USAF aircraft, such as B-52s or B-2s, will be able to carry it.
MOPs also use a high-tech explosion that reportedly flows around corners, so it should expand and move throughout a cavern complex rather than getting soaked up by the first barrier it encounters.
This bomb will give the US an advantage if we ever get invaded by the mole men, but until then it should give us a trump card against Middle Eastern countries like Syria and Iran, which are allegedly experimenting with weapons and building nuclear bombs in underground factories.
That’s the plan, anyway. Some experts believe that Iran has developed a type of super-strong concrete that can withstand modern bunker-busters. If conflict ever breaks out, the first launch of one of these bombs might shed some light on that age-old philosophical question: What happens when an unstoppable bomb hits an immovable wall? One thing we can be certain about is that the bomb will be completely obliterated. The only real question is whether the bunker will still be there after the mushroom cloud clears.
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