MOP Gets Attention in Iran; Dems Kick up a Storm

The request for expedite of a new class of massive bunker-buster has the attention of the mullahs in Iran. As reprorted by Kansas

Longer than a Humvee and weighing more than two elephants, the latest and largest bunker-busting bomb is an attention-getter.

The $88 million request last month to speed up the operational ability of the MOP, or Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was noticed by some in Congress who saw a signal that Washington was on track for a war with Iran.

Presumably, its listing as an “urgent operational need from theater commanders” was noticed, as well, by Iran’s leadership.

The 15-ton weapon would be most tailored to blast away at deeply buried nuclear facilities. Defense analysts have predicted any attack on Iran would involve the B-2 stealth bomber using its radar-dodging ways to slip past Tehran’s air defenses and drop bunker busters on places like Natanz, where nuclear facilities hum away 100 feet below the surface.

The jets could be MOP capable by late 2008, said a spokesman at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, home of the B-2 bomber.

In its October emergency appropriations request for $196 million more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House essentially sped up funding for the new bomb. Previously, only about $30 million had been allocated to develop it.

The administration listed the request under “technologies to improve the survivability of U.S. personnel and equipment.”

While American forces at times needed to blast through sturdy defenses during the very earliest stages of the invasions that ousted Saddam Hussein and put down the Taliban, those conflicts now are guerilla and counterinsurgency fights that demand a much lighter touch than a 15-ton bomb.