Earlier this month, the United States Military released images of the GBU-57 “bunker buster” bomb designed to hit deep underground facilities, including uranium enrichment facilities in some unknown country. The images were released by the US Air Force on May 2 and were later removed, possibly for fear of disclosing secret information about the advanced weapon.
Back in April 2003, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his Israeli counterpart, Moshe Yaalon, did their best to conceal their deep disagreements over selling Israel the GBU-57. Hagel reiterated that Israel had the right to decide how to defend against Iranian aggression, but the NY Times cited a “close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu” who revealed that “the fundamental difference of views on how much risk we can take with Iran is re-emerging.”
Israel is still craving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which weighs about 30,000 pounds, even though it does not possess an aircraft big enough to carry it to, say Fordo. They’ll need a B-2 bomber.
According to the US Airforce, the precision-guided GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is substantially larger than the deepest-penetrating bunker busters ever made. It is designed to accomplish the difficult, complicated mission of reaching and destroying an adversary’s weapons of mass destruction located in well-protected facilities. So far, 20 units have been contracted, from Boeing.
I found on the US Defense Dept. website (so you won’t have to), a contract from October 28, 2019, with the Superior Forge & Steel Corp., Lima, Ohio; and Ellwood National Forge, Irvine, Pennsylvania, who were awarded $90 million––in multiple awards––for the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity procurement of GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator warhead case assemblies.
Here’s a fun fact: one of the limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuse and will detonate only after it has come to a stop, even if it has passed the target area.
I’ll bet you that if the Israelis got their hands on it, they’d find a way to patch on a void-sensing fuse. And they’ll find a way to hitch it to a 707. Maybe two 707s carrying the bunker buster between them…