Thursday, 26 July 2012

Donley: New bunker-busting bomb ready to use

The Air Force’s 30,000-pound behemoth bunker buster is ready to be used if needed, Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said Wednesday.

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, is designed to destroy deeply buried bunkers that protect chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year that the bomb needed more development to be able to take out Iranian bunkers.

Since then, Syria has disintegrated into full civil war, making the U.S. government worried about the Syrian regime’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

“The Syrian regime needs to protect these weapons,” Defense Department spokesman George Little said Tuesday. “And I think I’ve been very clear, as have others in the U.S. government, that it would be unacceptable not to secure them.”

After speaking at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington on Wednesday, Donley was asked if the MOP was available to be used. He was not asked where it might be used.

“If it needed to go today, we would be ready to do that,” he said. “We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing. We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”

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