WHITEMAN AIR FORCE BASE, Mo. --- A team of weapons specialists loaded a 20-foot mock bomb into the bomb bay of a simulated aircraft Dec. 18 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 has yet to enter production, and the aircraft was a mock up of the B-2 Spirit.
The MOP is approximately 20.5 feet long, with a 31.5-inch diameter and a total weight of slightly less than 30,000 pounds. The weapon will carry over 5,300 pounds of explosive material and will deliver more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor, the BLU-109. It is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet underground before exploding.
"I couldn't help but notice how enormous the bomb was hanging in the weapons bay," said Tech. Sgt. Jason Hermann, a 509th Maintenance Group weapons loader. "It looked much larger once we had loaded it into the weapons bay than when it was on the loading adapter."
The bomb's development started in 2004 when the Air Force executed a contract with Boeing for the Pentagon's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an agency that safeguards America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate and counter the threat. The weapon is guided by Global Positioning System navigation. Its cropped wings improve agility and storable grid fin controls facilitate internal carriage.
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.
"This awesome weapon reeks of strategic deterrence," said Col. Bob Dulong, the 509th MXG commander. "America's enemies will know the destructive power of this weapon in our arsenal and they should modify their behavior, lest they learn of this weapon from firsthand experience."