Boeing’s MOP and Iran’s nuke program

June 25, 2015: We don’t often stray into military topics, usually confining ourselves to commercial derivative programs like the Boeing P-8 Poseidon, KC-46a, Airbus KC-330 and the like. But, of all places, Politico has an interesting three-screen piece about President Obama’s “Plan B” in case the talks with Iran fail over curbing its nuclear program.

Plan B calls for the prospect of a Northrop Grumman B-2 stealth bomber dropping a series Massive Ordnance Penetrators, or MOPs, on targeted Iranian nuke facilities to destroy them. The MOP is a super-bomb, but of non-nuclear design, that is so big and so powerful it can penetrates some 200 feet under ground before it blows up. Boeing designed the MOP.

Rendering via Google images.

As Politico outlined the plan in great detail (undoubtedly leaked at a critical time to send a message to Iran), one MOP couldn’t do the job, so a succession of B-2s will drop a succession of MOPs on top of each other, with each diving deeper and deeper through the preceding blast hole until getting to the target deep underground.

It’s a fascinating read.

88 Comments on “Boeing’s MOP and Iran’s nuke program

  1. Seems to me from memory ( possibly incorrect ) that they found a use for the old super sized gun barrels on battleships and destroyers of ww1 and ww2 as they were made from super high strength steel.

    • It was the hastily thrown together BLU-113 penetrator that was made from old surplus 8 inch gun tubes, not the MOP. The MOP is made from ES-1 or “Eglin steel” which was specifically developed for use in ground penetrators as a low cost alternatives to the many superalloy and maraging steels that are out there.

  2. Obama would never have the guts to do Plan B. I just don’t see it happening.

    • Probably not. I suspect the leaked “plan” is aimed more at US domestic attention than Iranian. You need to choose your enemies as well as your friends. In a part of the world where the US has many more of the first than of the second, bombing Iran isn’t a totally straightforward decision. However LeehamNews is even less of a political/diplomatic forum than it is a military one.

      • And while this strays into political commentary, I thank all the deities that may or may not be that Obama would not do it.

        So far we have not bombed nuclear powers such as Russia, China, Pakistant, North Korea and Israel. So why do we select Iran? Convince me they are any worse than the last 3!

        So thank you very much, I have had my fill of the Bush era lets have a war crowed.

        One of the most chilling things I ever read and they were serious was the NEOCONs saying that we could bomb Iran and its not an act of war. God, they were serious too.

        Too bad for Japan they did not think of that on Dec 7, 1941, it would have saved them defeat (if you guy that then I have a whole series of Bridges around the world I will sell you.

        • Yes , if there was one country to bomb and effect its nuclear program it would be North Korea.

          But George W Bush had too much on his plate at the time ?

        • Well the big difference is Iran does not yet have the bomb and they can cause a lot more havoc due to their location. Thank God Israel had the guts to do it to Iraq in the 80’s. But please educate more about those evil Neocon Bushes screaming let’s have a war! It’s really fascinating.

        • Bombing Iran would be a pre-emptive strike, justified by Iran’s supplying of weapons and training to Hezbollan/Hamas and by Iran’s threats against others especially Israel.

          A pre-emptive strike is defensive, Israel used the tactic successfully when it learned that the Arab war-makers were preparing to attack Israel.

          Fortunately Israel took out Iraq’s nuclear reactor, but logistics into Iran are more difficult without using the submarine-launched nuclear missiles it probably has.

          (The definition of “act of war” varies, usually it means an unprovoked attack, especially to foment war – not the case here IMO. US law defines it broadly: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2331, so bombing Iran would qualify IMO.)

    • I love it when the public criticize the president yet they are happy with the outcome of his decisions and actions. I want to hear from anyone who was against him when he spearheaded the mission to kill Osama Bin Laden.

      • Obama was on the helicopters? Wouldn’t surprise me some apologists would push that.

        • Obama authorized the mission; he didn’t need to be “on the helicopters”. All in all, it was a far better outcome than the Bush Administration’s total failure at Tora Bora in 2001.

          I’m curious what your comments would be if they’d hogged a couple Blackhawks into the ground and killed all of the SEALS onboard, ending in a failed mission? Seems some people just can’t win, can they?

          • Well Brian I’m sure you would have blamed Bush!

    • I think you mean “Obama has the brains not to embark on such a stupid misadventure”.

      • Only there is no common intellectual ground to the “Obama would never have the guts to …” crowd.

        Thus: no communications. you can’t argue with a vacuum 😉

    • I do hope Mr Obama will never repeat the kind of terrible mistake Mr Bush (double you) did
      I suggest he visit Iran before making any judgment on this country
      The propaganda we have in Europe and probably in the US has to be counterbalanced by some truth … visit Iran … you will be highly surprised

    • Same here. The Iranians and others have sized up our President and they know he will not stand up to them.

  3. I once read an article or saw a short videoclip about the MOAB(Mother of all Bombs),but I think that was a different kind of monster!

    • The MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb is not an earth penetrator like the MOP, but is designed to explode on or near the surface. It carries a payload of thermobaric explosive filler designed to produce a pressure pulse that is longer in time than the pulse produced by an ideal or near ideal explosive material. Pressure pulses that are longer in time have a characteristic range over which the pressure falls off much more gradually than the typical ~1/r scaling. This enables enhanced air blast effects across the ground or down tunnel entrances over a distance.

  4. I think the goodguy – badguy, our cool weapons, aircraft carrier policy, cold war kind of stories still work.

    More then e.g. Washington concluding after 35 years the sanctions didn’t really work and we better become friends after all before e.g. China and / or Russia do so. Lots of people, oil there. Developed country actually. If they are still the bad guys, why do we want their business is a less interesting story then MOP’s.

    Polical Realism kicking in with Iran:
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/executives-welcome-potential-customer-iran-to-paris-air-show-1434568797
    https://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/24/how-russia-could-make-or-break-the-iran-deal/
    http://www.iranreview.org/file/contentImage/I1/be93d0fa-bb1a-4288-85fa-94298092e460.jpg

  5. “As Politico outlined the plan in great detail (undoubtedly leaked at a critical time to send a message to Iran), one MOP couldn’t do the job, so a succession of B-2s will drop a succession of MOPs on top of each other, with each diving deeper and deeper through the preceding blast hole until getting to the target deep underground.”

    Destroying a target buried 250 ft below a mountain with a series of successive bombs dropped down the same hole? Yeah, good luck with that, even with the performance capabilities of the MOP. Better hope there are no significant competent rock layers between the surface and the target, otherwise its’ going to take many many of these bombs to get the job done.

    I think this “leak” is another case of the current administration trying to appear tough, amidst another impending policy failure, mainly for face saving and legacy reasons.

    • Won´t work? Look up ¨tallbuoy¨and ¨grandslam¨ bombs from WWII. Designed by Barnes Wallis, who had a lot of other interesting aerospace ideas.

      • I’m aware of these two WWII bombs and how they worked and were used. The MOP has much better penetration performance than these older generation bombs. A newer technology steel and a better shape are the main reasons. Boat tails or tapering tail ends are a bad idea if one wants to penetrate rock/concrete over long distances.

        A lot can happen between the surface and 250 ft down, not the least of which are geological features that will cause the penetrator to veer off a straight path. The chosen path of the penetrator is pretty much at the mercy of site specific geological details, something that is near impossible to get good intelligence on.

        • well they did have to dump the tailings somewhere, and the entrance can surely be screwed up even if not penetrated- plus only internal power ? vents ? etc

          • Attacking entrances, vents, and power only denies facility use for a short amount of time because those utilities can be quickly repaired. To really set back the program the facility contents need to be destroyed. Preferably by collapsing the facility ceiling, or pulverizing the valuable contents with a blast inside the main room.

            Tailings won’t tell you anything about things like local fissures and density changes which will end up steering the penetrator.

        • these bombs didn´t rely on direct hits, the shockwave in solid soil/rock works like an earthquake, shakes the target to bits.

          • You’re absolutely right. However, the peak shock strength drops off as ~1/r from the source, which means that 10 ft (120″) from the explosion the shock pressure is about 1/10 of what it was in the explosion center, since the radius of the charge is about 12″. While direct hits are not required, modern buried structures are much better designed to handle ground shock from large explosions (nukes) than old ww2 bunkers so the weapon has to get close.

            200 ft is 10 times the length of the penetrator, and at these relative depths the penetration tunnel is always somewhat curved. I would imagine that it will be very hard to get a weapon within 30 ft of the desired aimpoint at a depth of 250 ft. Now, it would be a completely different story if Fordow was buried under soil, but I’m pretty sure that is not the case. The engineers would have to be pretty stupid not to put an expensive facility like that in anything but competent geology. Granite’s are best but certain kinds of limestone can be pretty good as well.

    • Israel scares me as much as Iran.

      Ethnic cleansing and Russian like seizing of territory that is not part of the partition which for better or worse (save Jerusalem issue) they are oblige to live with or wind up with this endless violence that is an underling cause of the whole Middle East issue.

      • Uhh transworld- I strongly suggest you take your political diatribes elsewhere.

        Thanks

        Don

        • I will leave it to Scott if he feels I have gone over the line and take my admonishment from him.

          As for a diatribe, I think those are solid facts.

          No less true than the Holocaust for those that deny that (and I most adamantly do not, that is as solidly grounded in fact)

          • Yeah one is the only democracy in the Middle East and the other screams about blowing that democracy off the map. Yeah I’m really more scared of Israel (rolls eyes)…

          • Can an Apartheid like system actually be a democracy ?

          • Methinks you know not what apartheid is…

          • He certainly does not know what Apartheid means. He can start looking all around Israel to learn what it is.
            Gender apartheid, Coptics sufer apartheid, Assyrian suffer apartheid, Christians suffer apartheid. Etc. The list is almost endless.

    • I think it is safe to say that Israel is pretty frightened at the prospect of Iran obtaining nuclear weaponry.

      • Specifically, Israel is scared to death of Hezbollah – that Iranian Proxy that resides to the north of them that they can not eliminate despite all their Tanks, Fighter Jets, Drones and Attack Helicopters. Like Vietnam did in the Third Indochina War against the Chinese, Hezbollah in it’s 2006 war with Israel employed the big “D” (i.e., Defense”) to neutralize a technologically and numerically superior Israeli force. I expect Hezbollah’s sponsor and mentor – Iran – would employ a similar strategy against the US Armed Forces if hostilities broke out. As a result, a war with Iran would not be the cutesy-wootsey, shoot-em-up that that was the Iraq War – a lot of Americans would probably die – and weapons systems such as the Aircraft Carrier Fleets and Stealth Aircraft would be shown to be more vulnerable than the DoD will admit: Big Business and the DoD don’t want Iran exposing their expensive toys. For these reasons, I don’t think a war with Iran is imminent, whoever in the US Government is calling for war should just shut their mouths.

      • “Level Playing”
        Avoided by select entities like the plaque.

        Bombing Iran would be an act of war, wouldn’t it?
        OK, that never bothered any US politician.

        • Israel has demonstrated over time by their actions that they’re not at all interested in wiping Iran from the map despite their suspected nuclear weapons capability. Unfortunately for Israel, the same cannot be said of Iran’s attitude and actions toward Israel.

          • All you’ve got on that are helpful CIA translations.

            If you delve into it you get to a mistranslation in the vein of Khrushchev’s “We’ll bury you” which actually would have been much better translated as “We will watch your burial”.

      • A just settlement with Palestinians provided a much better defence against a regional nuclear power.

        Is a two state solution really that hard ?

        • Apparently it is. If you’re Israel, who do you talk to on the other side that truly represents the best interests of the Palestinian people?

          • If you are Israel you run to the United States and squeal like a little girl that you need protection from them big, bad Iranians – and you try to convince the US to fight a war for you that you don’t have the guts to fight.

          • Jimmy,
            What past/present war did the US fight on behalf of Israel that they didn’t have the guts to fight themselves?

          • “”Jimmy,
            What past/present war did the US fight on behalf of Israel that they didn’t have the guts to fight themselves?””

            Mike,

            Let’s try the 1983 War in Lebanon for one where the US Marines got blown up by Hezbollah – so the US left Lebanon and within a couple of days beat up on the tiny country of Grenada in order wave the flag, squeal victory and make itself feel all better. Of course, as much as we loathe to fight Hezbollah, Israel hates it even more and that’s why they also left Lebanon.

          • Jimmy,
            In the case of the 1982 war in Lebanon, the Israelis didn’t lack the guts (as you said) because they invaded themselves in an attempt to eliminate the PLO. It was Lebanon that requested the presence of the MNF (of which the US was one country) to protect civilians from further slaughter and to oversee the withdrawal of PLO elements that Israel had surrounded. I don’t see how this is an example of Israel running to the US for protection or help.

          • Mike,

            If that version of history makes you feel better, then go ahead and believe it. Meanwhile, I am off to read how Iraq had all those WMDs, how the Vietnam War was lost because of Walter Cronkite’s unflattering appraisal of the Tet Offensive, and about how serene Iraq is today ever since the US showed up and created peace and democracy.

            Seriously…I’m tired of fairy tales.

          • Ya know- I would not be surprised if Scott dumped most of this who fought who and why and related posts. IMHO this is not the place or time. There are plenty of other sites/blogs. etc to continue such as the yahoo boeing message site where this goes on every day, all day. It may be that there are a few trolls posting just to rile the troops.

            For the record- I was in israel near the lebanojn border when they withdrew in the mid 80’s ( on a tour ) and been to leningrad, berlIne, and dachau. IMO – The misinformation posted in this thread and partisan bickering is totally off topic.

          • So Jimmy you really think the US reacted to the Beirut bombing by invading Grenada, in all of two days? Really? Two days?

          • Nuclear armament and US backing give them the power for unlimited unreasonableness.

            In the end the newly risen powers will be surprised that they lack the prerequisites to govern this influence sphere that they arranged to their liking.

  6. How many other one shot enemy killers have been touted out in the last century or so?

    Sure, the MOP might be able to destroy Fordow, but then what? Does that kill the tens of thousands of Iranians with ‘dangerous’ knowledge or even cut off their internet connections?

    Does it cut off their access to resources or abilities to create more of what was just destroyed?

    The Plan B has all the bravado of ‘We’re so much better, tougher and smarter’ than them, but when was the last time the US has had a lasting military victory? Grenada?

    What Plan B doesn’t address is Iran’s response. The first thing will be their, entirely legal, withdrawal from the NPT…and with that, go the IAEA

  7. …and to continue, with the loss of access to Iran by any western organization, so too goes the loss of much valuable intel which has been garnered from the decade or more the IAEA has been inspecting Iran.

    And…what of Iran’s retaliation? Does Plan B take care of the tens of thousands of rockets, missiles, torpedoes that Iran has stockpiled?

    What about all of the tens of thousands of soft targets in the west…the pipelines, power grids, water reservoirs, bridges, train stations, airports, hospitals, schools, government buildings….etc, all extremely critical to western society and not only unguarded, but impossible to guard and very easy targets.

    Look what happened in Oklahoma city by a couple of rednecks, a van and some fertilizer. Imagine a hundred of those…the combined total of which would be a tiny fraction of cost of one MOP attack.

    Plan B is for public consumption and to appease Israel and Saudi…and that is only for their public as well. Nobody with a minuscule sense of history thinks that the MOP would ever be used except in the case of all out war…but it may cause that very thing if ever used preemptively.

    Nobody wants that or is, so far, willing to chance that…no matter the, ‘all options are on the table’ bluster.

    Plan B is little more than the latest, greatest toy for the generals and contractors to drag out and brag about and use to earn some juicy future contracts.

    The slaughter in Yemen shows the mindset of the world’s warriors. Attack the weakest country in your area. Use that to test out all of your new toys. Blame the current baddest enemy to legitimize it, and cut and paste for the next one.

    If the west was going to attack Iran, it would have. It won’t because the cost would be exponentially more than any of their recent forays into disaster.

    The MOP is a news clip sound bite.

  8. Well, go away for an afternoon and look at what happens.

    I really didn’t intend to cause an international geo-political debate. I found the article interesting as well as Boeing’s technology, the strategy needed to do the job and the sheer power of MOP.

    Would anyone actually like to talk about this?

    Hashing and rehashing old Middle East wars, policies and what Obama will or won’t do wasn’t what I had in mind with this post.

    Hamilton

    • I think the MOP is deeply entwined with the current and historical politics and conflicts of the middle east.

      The MOP has been bandied about for a very long time, but its testing and abilities were only made public a few weeks before Iran and the West are to sign a peace agreement.

      The intent of the MOP is not its actual use as a weapon, but its threat as a punishment against Iran’s…well…something to be decided later. It also serves as a warning to the rest of the world of America’s continued might as a military leader.

      There is little new or impressive about the bomb…it’s basically just a big bomb. The Lancaster dropped the 22,000lb penetration Grand Slam bomb to, among other things, destroy very well protected sub pens.

      The MOP is only 8000 lbs heavier than a bomb designed and used, (by a piston engined prop plane), 70 years ago. The real story should be that this is the best they can do after all that time.

      As well, the bomb will be dropped from 6-10 miles high…and is hardly a stealth weapon. A few missile hits and there go the fins and there goes the accuracy. The defense against big bombs is much newer than the bombs themselves.

      As a weapon, the MOP is kind of a snooze. The MOP is little more than a huge PR gambit. Even the press on it is hyperbole thinly veiled as space aged tech.

      It’s a really big bomb. That’s pretty much the whole story on that as a weapons system.

    • Scott:

      I will be as cautious and non inflammatory in my language as possible.

      I don’t think we can separate out the end use of something like the MOP vs its tech capabilities.

      Or to put it another way, once you have the capability then you also have the possibility it will be used. Said use currently has one country.

      While usually no single device can cause a regional war, this one certainly can.

      I think its possible use ramifications are the big story, not the tech portion.

      Ergo my posts but also recognize this is a tech site and will not say anything more.

  9. “It also serves as a warning to the rest of the world of America’s continued might as a military leader.”

    Not so much for the rest of the world.

    • Actually, none of the world. Big bombs have been made before. There is really nothing special about this one

      It’s a heavy, pointed stunt.

      Instead of military leader, I should have said military equipment sales leader.

      • Yeah actually it is kind of special if it can penetrate 200 feet. Nothing with that penetrating capability, short of nuclear I suppose, has ever been developed. If it actually works it will be a game changer when it comes to protecting underground installations.

        • What’s not impressive is that penetrating bombs have evolved so little in the past 70 years.

          The Grand Slam dropped from a Lancaster was impressive. Merely making a bigger Grand Slam, 70 years later, dropped by a multi billion dollar jet, isn’t.

          In that time, diseases have been cured, we went from the V2 to the moon, slide rule to ipad, and developed nukes.

          Penetrating bombs went from 22,000lbs dropped from 25,000 ft, to 30,000lbs dropped from 60,000 ft.

          That’s hardly something to brag about.

          • ….and the solution is to shoot the guidance from the bomb, bury installations deeper and keeping them secret.

            Fordow is just a deeper hole, which has defeated ever penetrating bomb ever. Deeper holes have been dug got centuries

          • “Penetrating bombs went from 22,000lbs dropped from 25,000 ft, to 30,000lbs dropped from 60,000 ft.”

            This is not at all how these types of weapons should be compared. The comparison should be the amount of damage capability, the delivery depth of that damage capability, and the accuracy to which that damage capability can be delivered. In all three of these figures of merit the MOP far exceeds the Grand Slam.

            For accuracy, the MOP is at least an order of magnitude better. For delivery depth, the MOP could be as much as an order of magnitude better depending on the geology. For damage capability, the MOP is at least as good and could be up to 1.5 times better depending on the type of explosive filler (even though it caries only half the payload).

            Also, keep in mind that the penetrating bomb has not developed continuously of 70 years. The was a period of about 50 years in there where no new development work was done.

          • Also, good luck with shooting the guidance from the bomb. The MOP is not a fragile airframe that will be shredded by a small fragmentation warhead. The fins will be damaged yes, but to what extent, and the guidance package is well protected. Perhaps a frag might hit the sensor, but what is the probability of that. Plus, a drop from 60,000 ft lasts less than 2 min if the terminal velocity is about 340 m/s. That’s not alot of time to detect, track, and engage multiple times. It’s not like the developers haven’t considered this possibility in their CONOPS analysis.

          • 2 minutes is an eternity for any aircraft defense systems.

            Every weapon made has a counter, and the MOP, has been known about since out was a concept. Iran has been working on defense as long as the bomb was being developed.

            The west has been touting tech will win…and yet, starting with Vietnam, they have been painfully surprised.

            It’s a better penetrating bomb. It still needs multiple sorties to get Fordow.

            As for the robustness of the fins and guidance, they are just fins.

            Bragging about victory hadn’t worked out very well for the US.

            They also forget to mention Iranian retaliation. I don’t think Iran will meekly tolerate being bombed and have a look around at all of the soft targets in your town. One rifle can take out a power grid.

            They have been threatening attack for years. I doubt Iran is very worried.

          • Yes, every weapon has a counter, but so does every defense. This is just a variation of armor/anti-armor debate that has go on since the beginning of war and will continue to go on. Nothing new here.

            I’ve not heard of anyone with credibility touting the MOP as a one shot enemy killer. It represents a relatively new capability for US forces, one that I’m fairly sure no other country has in the near term.

  10. The MOP is indeed an impressive weapon with unmatched performance capabilities compared to other conventional ground penetrating bombs. However, I’m not sure how feasible it is to use MOPs in its current form to destroy a facility like Fordow that is at or beyond the max depth capability of the weapon, and in what I would assume is competent geology. This would require multiple MOPs and considerable luck. As I stated in a post above, a lot can happen between the surface and 250 ft down.

    It would be a different story if the MOP had the capability to steer itself while penetrating the ground. This would certainly mitigate the uncertainty of where the weapon ends up when it is time to go boom, thus increasing both the kill probability and the feasibility of using multiple MOPs down the same hole to go well beyond the current depth capability. Penetration steering capability is a very tall order, though.

    Another capability that I would love to see would be down hole networking between individual MOPs. If this could be done, it would greatly increase the effectiveness and flexibility of the weapon. Multiple MOPs could then be used to saturate the target area and achieve shock focusing through synchronous detonation. This would either increase the maximum effective depth of the weapon, or greatly increase the probability of collapsing the ceiling of the target structure. Collapsing the ceiling without perforating into the structure is probably the better option since both the structure and its contents are destroyed, not just the contents. It also could be a much better option if the structure contains chemical or biological weapons that need to be contained.

    Regardless of whether or not the MOP is ever used against Iran’s nuclear facilities, it is always good to have new, unmatched capabilities in the arsenal in case they are ever needed.

    • Sort of a semi – off the wall thought

      An altitude emp explosion ( nuke ? ) in combi or after a penatrator bomb could really screw up electronics/electrical in surrounding area and perhaps even the facility. And if the ‘ front and back doors’ to the facility were “dented”, the efforts to open up and restore would be visible from space. So while the facility might survive- the ability to ship out product and get workers in or out could be severely hampered. I find it hard to believe they built such a facility without leaving space visible tracks/traffic, plus tailings, etc. IMO – a combination of things that go bang and observation would seem to hamper further work, or make it visible.

      But that is really off the initial subject of ‘ big bombs”

      • There you’ve gone and said a bad bad word.

        Nuke is the word we cannot hear!!

      • An EMP attack presents some interesting possibilities. In my opinion it would be best if it was a precision EMP attack and not high altitude. That way the focus is on key utilities points and air defense points to allow a coordinated airstrike with the MOP.

  11. Interesting to see that some people expect from a simple improvement in “stick impressiveness” a complete turnaround in opponent behaviour.
    But note: there is no carrot involved.

    What about some fairness in interaction?
    Said to work wonders!

    Iran is pressured by the US to assist Saudi Arabia in becoming a _recognized_ regional power to supplant Iran.

    Unfortunately SA has no good standing. Vast amounts of oil and money is not enough in that context.
    After all is said and _done_ the world will have gained another bunch of failed nations.

    • No carrot involved? There have been hundreds of “carrots” offered to Iran that would allow them to run their plants but not create bombs and they have shot down every one. I wonder why?

      • What carrots are you talking about?

        I suppose Iran has been a careful observer of US offers to Iraq and Israeli offers to the Palestinians. In both cased demand/offer combos morphed in fantastic ways or demands were constantly upped.

  12. Bombs are so yesterday. The screaming mutulated victims are online within minutes. Nobody questions their innosence. Specially if they are young and beautiful. The justifications are ridiculled from the start, even in the west.

    A civilized country faces an immediate global credibility meltdown. And no means to control media. If they try so, this effort becomes a damaging topic itself.

    People openly asking what the h.ll they are doing there anyway, extremist calling out to bring terror to the western streets too. Young militants get new inspiration.

    Things have changed dramatically since the Gulfwars.

    • The political cost of use of force, whether justified or not, has definitely gone way up in the last 2 decades. Just ask Israel.

      However, I have yet to see an online video of mutilated victims from a strike on a buried underground target, even though there have been many such strikes within the last decade or so. The nature of such a strike is that the damage is contained underground where the target is. Of course there is always the possibility that the wrong target or structure is hit.

    • Yemen is an example of how the media’s message is controlled by those with the resources.

      The US is helping Saudi massacre Yemenis and destroy what little infrastructure existed in the poorest country in the middle east. Yet, there are rarely any stories on that tragedy. We get lots of Putin, the royal babies and every kardashian on the planet, but precious little about the thousands of civilians killed by western precision weapons, tens of thousands wounded, hundreds of thousands displaced and 20 million in danger from disease, dehydration and starvation.

      Anybody with any sense or ability to google knows that Iran has almost nothing to do with the Houthis, (who have centuries of history in Iran and have every right to revolt against corrupt governments without foreign interference), but the US and the rest of the western governments and press, allow that narrative to persist for the sake of soothing Saudi hurt feelings on the deal with Iran.

      Things have changed since the Gulf war. The US lost the last of its credibility with the WMD invasion of Iraq and is doing everything it can not to win any of it back.

      • And this has what to do with MOP ?
        Please take your off topic rant re media and government elsewhere

        Thank you !

        • Well…let’s tie it together Mr. Shuper. The US and it’s MOP is doing everything it can to destroy its credibility. Not only does the MOP demonstrate that the US is a bunch of chest-thumping weenies – the US does not even have the gut to use this weapon against Iran – whom they claim is some kind of existential threat. So…that makes the US a bunch of cowardly, chest-thumping weenies.

          Ever since the Vietnam War where the USofA got spanked, the most-typical American formula for Military Triumphalism is to launch shock-and-awe some small country with its incredible military power while making damned sure not to fight anyone who can and fight back. This “Shock and Awe” might be thousands of Special Forces Troops like they inflicted on Grenada, or it might be bombing the Iraqi people back into the stone age – but it’s always done against the helpless. I mean, nothing gives American Generals a stiffy more than to watch a B-2 drop bombs on an unsuspecting Afghan village – and a lot of the American public loves to see all that death and carnage, too. In that light, the MOP is America’s wishful thinking – it’s vulgar dreaming – of dropping a bomb on Iraq: a country which so humiliated America 35 years ago.

          But America won’t drop that MOP. Like I said America doesn’t have the guts to back it’s rhetoric. Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, Iran will fight…and that’s the last thing the American politicians and military really want.

          So, the MOP has already created collateral damage – American Credibility. Not so good a weapon.

          • With the “guts” US showed in Vietnam then they would have been spanked in WW2 too ,the Marines would have packed home after Guadalcanal and in Europe after the Para disaster in Sicily.

            Just imagine the media with hundreds(maybe more than a thousand) of deaths due to friendly fire in one day.

  13. “However, I have yet to see an online video of mutilated victims from a strike on a buried underground target, even though there have been many such strikes within the last decade or so.”

    The media we watch avoid them like the plague, because we don’t want to see them & the advertisers neither.

    Do that Google for “victims US Airstrike” images and forget the technical details, nobody is listening..

    But lets stick to the topic, what a kick .ass piece of superior technology, that should command some respect, is there a youtube of it? Awesome!

  14. Remember the surgical taking out the Amiriyah command center by F117’s and 2,000 pound GBU-27 laser-guided bombs. The first cut through ten feet of reinforced concrete before a time-delayed fuse exploded. Minutes later the second GBU-27 followed the exact path cut by the first bomb!

    The embedded Desert Storm CNN guys & girls probably didn’t waste much time at it, any civilians just should have been there. Next war we can almost be anywhere life. News TV will be mostly be a thing of the past. Look at the ISIS idiots..

    • I do remember that when it happened. Putting the controversy of the target selection aside, I remember being impressed by the accuracy of the laser guided bombs that were extensively used during that conflict.

      The MOP would be used against very different targets than the Amiriyah command center , which was essentially a ground level structure that relied on thick floors/ceiling to provide protection. When a bomb like the MOP goes off deep below the surface in competent geology, the only thing seen at the surface will be smoke and dust jetting out of a 32″ diameter hole.

  15. “I remember being impressed by the accuracy of the laser guided bomb”

    In the future apart from the pre- selected clean, distant clips of bombs hitting target, w’ll have ground coverage, uncensored, in color. W’ll be dragged into the discussions with locals asking us to do this in our own neighborhoods. Material more powerful then a few bombs.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amiriyah_shelter_bombing

    • Yes, the MOP is a conventional bomb, but it is not the same as the run of the mill GBU-27 of which there are probably thousands and which can be dropped from a wide variety of aircraft. The MOP is a highly specialized weapon. There are relatively few of them and they can only be delivered by 2 different aircraft. Thus, they would only be used against targets that absolutely require the MOP’s unique capability. These types of targets, at least in Iran, are not in the middle of cities. Look at the satellite photos of Fordow. It’s a facility under a mountain out in the middle of nowhere. What is the uncensored in color “ground coverage” going to look like compared that generated by a more typical airstrike in a populated area? The potential for negative PR is much less.

      This new kind of uncensored negative PR that you are talking about has been going on for a while now and is factored into every decision to use weapons of any kind, not just bombs. This decision to use force has never been easy, nor should it ever be.

  16. “This new kind of uncensored negative PR that you are talking about has been going on for a while now and is factored into every decision to use weapons of any kind, not just bombs. ”

    It has brought down goverments already. It’s entering the living rooms at home almost live, interactive. No more filters, press supporting our boys out there, “balancing”, justifying stuff we don’t want, selecting news, creating perceptions, putting all in the right perspective. Newspapers & TV are out.

    • I don’t think Fordow will ever get bombed for a number different reasons. The bad PR you are talking about won’t be one of them. Will it be a consideration? Of course, but not be close to being the most important one.

    • The censorship is how other side fights.

      Did you saw any 11 September victim bodies exposed by the media?
      No.
      The ultrage is just to be manufactured to one side. Except if the President is of our side then we give a pass.

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