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GBU-57/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)

MOP Program History

The Defense Department announced late 01 November 2004 that the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a multi-year contract to Boeing for the MOP program. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was being awarded a $20,000,000 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The primary objective of this program will be to design and test a large penetrating munition, to demonstrate the weapon's lethality against multi-story buildings with hardened bunkers and tunnel facilities, and to reduce technology risk for future development. This program is funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less than the amount indicated above. Initially $499,755 of the funds was obligated. This work was to be complete by February 2005. Solicitation began July 2004 and negotiations were completed September 2004. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8651-04-D-0427).

The MOP is being developed in three phases. Boeing successfully completed Phase I, Concept Refinement, of the MOP technology demonstration in May 2005. Phase II started in June 2005 and included detailed design and preliminary testing as well as long lead items for Phase III, Weapon Performance Demonstration. During FY2005 contractors analyzed the effectiveness of massive ordnance penetration against hard and deeply buried targets and completed preliminary design. They refined Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) concept and began detailed weapon development and testing. The also planned statically emplaced Proof-of Principle test of effectiveness of Massive Ordnance payloads, and planned demonstration of massive ordnance airblast lethality against a full-scale tunnel target.

During Phase III, research and development flight tests from a B-52 aircraft were planned between Nov. 2007 and July 2008. These tests were designed to measure the penetration and lethality performance of the MOP weapon on bunker and tunnel targets constructed at DTRA's WMD National Testbeds located at the White Sands Missile Range, NM.

The Boeing-developed Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) successfully completed a static tunnel lethality test 14 March 2007 at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA) weapons tunnel complex at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The test consisted of a statically emplaced conventional weapon within a DTRA test tunnel. This demonstration of the bomb's capability to defeat tunnels was a significant step in the development of this innovative concept. A team of weapons specialists loaded a 20-foot mock bomb into the bomb bay of a simulated aircraft 18 December 2007 at Whiteman Air Force Base. The bomb was a mock up of the 30,000 pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, a 30,000 pound bomb that had yet to enter production, and the aircraft was a mock up of the B-2 Spirit.

Northrop Grumman started integrating the MOP to the B-2 in July 2007. The B-2 will be able to carry two MOPs, one in each bay, which will be mounted to the existing forward and aft mounting hardware currently in the B-2. B-2 armament upgrades include, but are not limited to, integration of new and/or advanced weapons into the B-2 to destroy a wider array of target sets as well as destroy more targets per sortie. Final testing and integration of the GBU-28 C/B program was underway in 2007. The GBU-28 C/B is an improved 5,000 lb "bunker buster" munition that provides greater lethality, thus holding more enemy targets at risk. Universal Armament Interface will provide a commonality among all weapon platforms to interface with all standard armament. Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) armament efforts will design, develop, integrate, and test the hardware and software required to employ both weapons from the B-2. SDB II will provide all-weather, near-precision accuracy against a wide range of fixed, relocatable, and mobile targets at increased standoff ranges with less collateral damage. The 30K pound MOP will provide the nation with the ability to hold additional hardened and deeply buried targets (HDBT) at risk that are out of reach of the current 5K pound class penetrator munitions. The B-2 is the only penetrating platform capable of carrying the MOP. FY07 Congressional Plus-up for SDB and MOP was insufficient to complete full design, development, test, and integration efforts required for the B-2 fleet. FY07 funds funded as much effort as possible until additional funds were received in future years.

On 08 June 2009 the 678 ARSS announced that it intended to issue a sole-source contract to McDonnell Douglas Corporation, A Wholly-Owned Subsidiary of the Boeing Company, for the B-2/Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). Under the contract, fabrication of MOP weapons, with variants subsequently designated GBU-57/B and GBU-57A/B, will consist of 5 test assets and up to 15 residual assets. At the time, the best estimated quantity for MOP residual assets is 10, as noted in the Sources Sought Synopsis.

The Defense Department is developing an advanced "bunker-buster" bomb that should be ready for deployment this summer, senior Pentagon officials said Oct. 8, 2009. The department has been "working on technology that allows us to get at deeply buried, hardened targets" since 2004, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters. Development of the bomb has taken longer than originally envisioned because of variables in the budget process, Whitman said, adding that it is now back "on track." Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters that the department was developing a massive penetrator bomb designed to pulverize underground facilities that may store weapons of mass destruction and related systems. At a hefty 30,000 pounds, the new penetrator bomb weighs almost 4 tons more than the US military's former heavyweight champion, the nearly 22,000-pound massive ordnance air blast conventional bomb, known by the acronym MOAB. The massive penetrator bomb will be in a class by itself and represents a unique capability, Whitman said.

On July 31, 2009, Tony Capaccio of Bloomberg, reported that the US Department of Defense had put in a formal request to accelerate by three years the deployment of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).

In a statement to Bloomberg news in November 2011, Air Force spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jack Miller said that Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) had begun taking deliveries of the GBU-57/B, otherwise known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, in September 2011. Commanding General of AFGSC Lieutenant General James Kowalski had told the annual Air Force Association conference, also held in September 2011, that the integration of the weapon with the B-2 bomber had been completed.

On 28 January 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Department of Defense had concluded that the GBU-57/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator was not capable of destroying certain facilities in Iran and had submitted a request for funds to upgrade the weapon. The request reportedly sought to improve the weapon's penetrating characteristics.

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Page last modified: 26-07-2012 11:13:24 ZULU