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US seeks more powerful bomb against Iran's deeply hidden nuclear facilities

Washington, Sun, 29 Jan 2012 ANI

Washington, Jan 29 (ANI): The United States is seeking a more powerful bomb after acknowledging that its largest conventional bomb is not capable of destroying Iran's most heavily fortified underground nuclear facilities.


Doubts over the existing Massive Ordnance Penetrator's (MOP) effectiveness reportedly prompted the Pentagon to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb, according to The Wall Street Journal.


"We've long said we need the capability these weapons will provide us," Fox News quoted Captain John Kirby, Pentagon spokesman, as saying.


"We're committed to their development and comfortable that they will contribute to all the capabilities our military can bring to bear against hardened targets," Kirby added.


Earlier in November, Kirby said that the MOP or "bunker busting bomb" would give the US "a far greater capability to reach and destroy an enemy's weapons of mass destruction that are located in well protected underground facilities to a magnitude far greater than we have now."


Kirby earlier denied that the bombs were designed to target Iran, the only country known to have buried its nuclear weapons.


According to the report, a senior US defense official said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now "acknowledged shortcomings in the development of the weapon."


Initial tests reportedly indicated that the bomb wouldn't be able to destroy some of Iran's facilities, although it was unclear if depth was a factor, or if Tehran had since added new fortifications to protect them, the Journal said.


According to the paper, the US officials said that the request for a more powerful bomb is part of contingency planning for a possible strike against Iran's nuclear program. (ANI)


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