Air Force ready to deploy 30,000-pound 'super bomb' on stealthy B-2 jet bomber

By John Keller

EGLIN AFB, Fla., 18 Jan. 2007. U.S. Air Force researchers are pondering a project to fit the recently developed Massive Ordnance Penetrator -- a 30,000-pound bunker-busting "super bomb" -- on the B-2 stealth bomber to destroy deeply buried, concrete-reinforced targets in heavily defended areas of the world.

The Air Force Air Armament Center at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., issued a source-sought notice today to find companies able to support integrating the Massive Ordnance Penetrator bomb on the B-2 jet bomber, including flight tests, and planning for a follow-on acquisition of a limited number of assets for these huge bunker-busting bombs.

The notice comes amid heightening worldwide concern of the mounting capability to build and deploy nuclear weapons in countries such as Iran and North Korea that are openly hostile to the United States.

The conventional Massive Ordnance Penetrator, commonly known as MOP, is 20 feet long, weighs 30,000 pounds, and carries 6,000-pounds of high explosives. It is designed to go deeper than any existing nuclear bunker-busting weapon.

An explosion from the gigantic air-dropped munition is expected to penetrate as deeply as 200 feet through reinforced concrete able to withstand pressure of 5,000 pounds per square inch. The bomb will burrow more than 26 feet into the ground through reinforced concrete before detonating.

American defense contractors Northrop Grumman and Boeing Co. are developing this conventional bunker buster under contract to Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., and Defense Threat Reduction Agency, according to GlobalSecurity.org in Alexandria, Va.

The Massive Ordnance Penetrator, which is so large that the B-2 bomber could carry only one of the weapons, has a short wing span and is satellite guided.

Air Force officials are considering a nine-month contract for fitting the Massive Ordnance Penetrator to the B-2. Companies interested in competing for the job have only until Feb. 2 to indicate their interest to the Air Force.

To compete for the job, companies must show they can plan and build Massive Ordnance Penetrator assets and support equipment; develop fielding and logistics plans, can provide engineers with secret-level security clearances, and must have experience in this kind of work.

Companies interested should reply to the Air Force's Stacey Hughes by phone at 850-882-0190, by e-mail at Stacey.hughes@eglin.af.mil, or by post at AAC/PKZB, Bldg 350, 205 West D Ave, Suite 433, Eglin AFB, FL 32542-6864. She also will respond to contractual questions.

For technical questions contact Marya Bard by phone at 850-883-3216. The federal solicitation number for this program is Reference-Number-FA9200-07-MOP-0002. More information is online at http://www.fbodaily.com/archive/2007/01-January/19-Jan-2007/FBO-01212693.htm.

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