Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP)
Direct Strike Hard Target Weapon / Big BLU

The MOP is a technology demonstration program funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency [DTRA] to develop a 30,000-pound conventional penetrating weapon that will defeat a specialized set of hard and deeply buried targets. The MOP is designed specifically to attack hardened concrete bunkers and tunnel facilities. Designed to be carried aboard B-2 and B-52 bombers and deployed at high altitudes, the MOP's innovative design features include a Global Positioning System navigation system. The 6 m [20 feet] long MOP features short-span wings and trellis-type tails. The 13,600 kg [30,000 lb] weapon contains a 2,700 kg [6,000 lb] explosive charge [some sources report "more than 5,300 pounds" of explosives]. MOP is designed to go deeper than any nuclear bunker buster and take out 25 percent of the underground and deeply buried targets worldwide. By some reports, it was expected to penetrate as much as 60 meters [200 feet through 5,000 psi reinforced concrete, and 8 meters [25 feet] into 10,000 psi reinforced concrete.

On 31 March 2006 Dr. James A. Tegnelia, the director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency told American Forces Press Service [AFPS] that the MOP is a test article meant to understand the design principles on which a country might build a weapon to counter hard targets. "We are not in the process to convince anybody to field a large earth penetrator," he said. But the FY 2008 Global War on Terror Amendment of October 2007 stated [page 44-45] that "The Department requests $5.3 billion to procure equipment to replenish that consumed during combat and support operations in the theater. ... The Replenishment category also includes $0.3 billion for the development of specific technologies to improve the survivability of U.S. personnel and equipment. This includes funding for the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) for use on the B-2 bomber... " On 23 October 2007, John M. Donnelly reported in Congressional Quarterly that the request includes "$88 million to modify B-2 bombers so they can drop a Massive Ordnance Penetrator" and that White House stated the request for money to modify bombers was in response to "an urgent operational need from theater commanders."

Boeing's Phantom Works is leading the effort to demonstrate the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). Northrop Grumman is working on with Boeing to develop this conventional bunker buster. They are under contract to Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, and Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The three-phase technology demonstration built on design studies that Boeing had conducted for the laboratory.

While complete physical destruction may be desired, for some hard and deeply buried targets this effect isn't practicable with current weapons and employment techniques. It may be possible, however, to deny or disrupt the mission or function of a facility. Functional defeat is facilitated through better data collection and intelligence preparation against the potential targets. The defeat process includes finding and identifying a facility, characterizing its function and physical layout, determining its vulnerabilities to available weapons, planning an attack, applying force, assessing damage, and, if necessary, suppressing reconstitution efforts and re-striking the facility. New more lethal defeat options for Hard and Deeply Buried Targets (HDBTs) like the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, that can overwhelm target characterization uncertainties, are being developed and demonstrated to provide a 10x increase in weapon lethality and improved penetration capability compared to inventory weapons.

Boeing's Phantom Works Activities

The Defense Department announced late 01 November 2004 that the Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded a multi-year contract to Boeing for the MOP program. The Boeing Co., St. Louis, Mo., was being awarded a $20,000,000 indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract. The primary objective of this program will be to design and test a large penetrating munition, to demonstrate the weapon's lethality against multi-story buildings with hardened bunkers and tunnel facilities, and to reduce technology risk for future development. This program is funded by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The Air Force can issue delivery orders totaling up to maximum amount indicated above, although actual requirements may necessitate less than the amount indicated above. Initially $499,755 of the funds was obligated. This work was to be complete by February 2005. Solicitation began July 2004 and negotiations were completed September 2004. The Air Force Research Laboratory, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is the contracting activity (FA8651-04-D-0427).

The MOP is being developed in three phases. Boeing successfully completed Phase I, Concept Refinement, of the MOP technology demonstration in May 2005. Phase II started in June 2005 and included detailed design and preliminary testing as well as long lead items for Phase III, Weapon Performance Demonstration. During FY2005 contractors analyzed the effectiveness of massive ordnance penetration against hard and deeply buried targets and completed preliminary design. They refined Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) concept and began detailed weapon development and testing. The also planned statically emplaced Proof-of Principle test of effectiveness of Massive Ordnance payloads, and planned demonstration of massive ordnance airblast lethality against a full-scale tunnel target.

During Phase III, research and development flight tests from a B-52 aircraft are planned between Nov. 2007 and July 2008. These tests are designed to measure the penetration and lethality performance of the MOP weapon on bunker and tunnel targets constructed at DTRA�s WMD National Testbeds located at the White Sands Missile Range, NM.

The Boeing-developed Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) successfully completed a static tunnel lethality test 14 March 2007 at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency's (DTRA) weapons tunnel complex at White Sands Missile Range, NM. The test consisted of a statically emplaced conventional weapon within a DTRA test tunnel. This demonstration of the bomb�s capability to defeat tunnels was a significant step in the development of this innovative concept.

B-2 armament upgrades include, but are not limited to, integration of new and/or advanced weapons into the B-2 to destroy a wider array of target sets as well as destroy more targets per sortie. Final testing and integration of the GBU-28 C/B program is underway. The GBU-28 C/B is an improved 5,000 lb "bunker buster" munition that provides greater lethality, thus holding more enemy targets at risk. Universal Armament Interface will provide a commonality among all weapon platforms to interface with all standard armament. Small Diameter Bomb (SDB) and Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP) armament efforts will design, develop, integrate, and test the hardware and software required to employ both weapons from the B-2. SDB II will provide all-weather, near-precision accuracy against a wide range of fixed, relocatable, and mobile targets at increased standoff ranges with less collateral damage. The 30K pound MOP will provide the nation with the ability to hold additional hardened and deeply buried targets (HDBT) at risk that are out of reach of the current 5K pound class penetrator munitions. The B-2 is the only penetrating platform capable of carrying the MOP. FY07 Congressional Plus-up for SDB and MOP is insufficient to complete full design, development, test, and integration efforts required for the B-2 fleet. FY07 funds will fund as much effort as possible until additional funds are received in future years.

Weight, total 13,600 kg [slightly less than 30,000 pounds]
Weight, explosive 2,700 kg [6,000 lb] "over 5,300 pounds"
Length 6 m / 20.5 feet long
Diameter 31.5-inch diameter
Control short-span wings and trellis-type tail
Penetration 60 meters [200 feet] through 5,000 psi reinforced concrete
40 meters [125 feet] through moderately hard rock
8 meters [25 feet] through 10,000 psi reinforced concrete
Contractors Boeing, Northrop Grumman
Sponsors Air Force Research Laboratory's Munitions Directorate
Defense Threat Reduction Agency.
Platforms B-52, B-2
Guidance GPS aided INS
  • 2005 - Refine MOP concept and begin detailed weapon development and testing
  • 2005 - statically emplaced Proof-of Principle test of payload effectiveness
  • 2006 - static lethality demonstration against hard and deeply buried targets
  • 2006 - scaled penetration and lethality testing
  • 2007 - Conduct Massive Ordnance Penetrator Demonstration
  • 2007 - full-scale performance demonstration against realistic hard and deeply buried targets