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GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator
GBU-57 MOP prototype
Type"Bunker buster" bomb
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used byUnited States Air Force
Production history
Mass27,125 pounds (12,304 kg)
Length20.5 feet (6.2 m)
Diameter31.5 inches (0.80 m)

Filling weight4,590 lb (2,080 kg)/752 lb (341 kg)

The GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) is a precision-guided, 30,000-pound (14,000 kg) "bunker buster" bomb used by the United States Air Force.[2] It is substantially larger than the deepest-penetrating bunker busters previously available, the 5,000-pound (2,300 kg) GBU-28 and GBU-37.

It is designed to accomplish a difficult, complicated mission of reaching and destroying an adversary's weapons of mass destruction located in well-protected facilities.[3]


In 2002, Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin were working on the development of a 30,000-pound (13,600 kg) earth-penetrating weapon, but funding and technical difficulties resulted in the development work being abandoned. Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, analysis of sites that had been attacked with bunker buster bombs revealed poor penetration and inadequate levels of destruction. This renewed interest in the development of a larger bunker buster, and the MOP project was initiated by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to fulfill a long-standing Air Force requirement.[4]

The U.S. Air Force has not officially communicated a specific military requirement for an ultra-large bomb, but it does have a concept for a collection of very large penetrator and blast weapons: the so-called "Big BLU" collection, which includes the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Blast) bomb. Development of the MOP was performed at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida with design and testing work performed by Boeing. It is intended that the bomb will be deployed on the B-2 Spirit, and will be guided using GPS.[5][6] It is also planned to be deployed on the B-21 Raider.[7]

Northrop Grumman announced a $2.5-million stealth-bomber refit contract on 19 July 2007. Each of the U.S. Air Force's B-2s is to be able to carry two 14-ton MOPs.[8][9]

The initial explosive test of MOP took place on 14 March 2007 in a tunnel belonging to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) at the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico.

On 6 October 2009, ABC News reported that the Pentagon had requested and obtained permission from the U.S. Congress to shift funding in order to accelerate the project.[10][11] It was later announced by the U.S. military that funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule meant the bomb would not be deployable until December 2010, six months later than the original availability date.[12]

The project has had at least one successful Flight Test MOP launch.[13]

On 7 April 2011, the USAF ordered eight MOPs plus supporting equipment, for $28 million.[14]

The Air Force took delivery of 20 bombs, designed to be delivered by the B-2 bomber, in September 2011. In February 2012, Congress approved $81.6 million to further develop and improve the weapon.[15]

On 14 November 2011, Bloomberg reported that the Air Force Global Strike Command started receiving the Massive Ordnance Penetrator and that the deliveries "will meet requirements for the current operational need".[16] The Air Force now has received delivery of 16 MOPs as of November 2011.[17] And as of March 2012, there is an "operational stockpile" at Whiteman Air Force Base.[18]

In 2012, the Pentagon requested $82 million to develop greater penetration power for the existing weapon.[1] A 2013 report stated that the development had been a success,[19] and B-2 integration testing began that year.[20]

Next Generation Penetrator munition[edit]

On 25 June 2010, USAF Lt. Gen. Philip M. Breedlove said that the Next Generation Penetrator (NGP) munition should be about a third the size of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator so it could be carried by affordable aircraft.[21] In December 2010, the USAF had a Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) for the Next Generation Penetrator.[22]

Global Strike Command has indicated that one of the objectives for the Next-Generation Bomber is for it to carry a weapon with the effects of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator. This would either be with the same weapon or a smaller weapon that uses rocket power, not unlike the WW II British/American Disney bomb used, to reach sufficient speed to match the penetrating power of the larger weapon.[23]

One of the current limitations of the MOP is that it lacks a void-sensing fuze and will therefore detonate only after it has come to a stop, even if it has passed the target area.[24]


  • Length: 20.5 feet (6.2 m)[25]
  • Diameter: 31.5 inches (0.8 m)[25]
  • Weight: 27,125 pounds (12,304 kg)[26]
  • Warhead: 5,342 lb (2,423 kg)[26]
    • AFX-757: 4,590 lb (2,080 kg)[26]
    • PBXN-114: 752 lb (341 kg)[26]
  • Penetration: 200 ft (61 m)[8]

See also[edit]

Specific large bombs


  1. ^ a b Adam Entous; Julian E. Barnes (28 January 2012). "Pentagon Seeks Mightier Bomb vs. Iran". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 December 2013.
  2. ^ B-2/Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) GBU-57A/B. FedBizOpps
  3. ^ "Massive Ordnance Penetrator". U.S. Air Force. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  4. ^ "MASSIVE ORDNANCE PENETRATOR fact sheet". US Air Force. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2012.
  5. ^ GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) / Direct Strike Hard Target Weapon / Big BLU
  6. ^ "Military & Aerospace Electronics, "Air Force ready to deploy 30,000-pound 'super bomb' on stealthy B-2 jet"". Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 20 February 2022.
  7. ^ Suciu, Peter (19 May 2021). "BANG: The B-21 Raider Is Just Short of Unstoppable". The National Interest. Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  8. ^ a b c Feature—30,000-pound bomb reaches milestone. US Air Force
  9. ^ Northrop Grumman Begins Work to Equip B-2 Bomber with Massive Penetrator Weapon (NYSE:NOC) Archived 24 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Is the U.S. Preparing to bomb Iran? - ABC News
  11. ^ "Reprogramming action - prior approval" (PDF). ABC News. Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  12. ^ Wolf, Jim (18 December 2009). "Exclusive: Pentagon delays new "bunker buster" bomb". Reuters.
  13. ^ Team Edwards wins two safety awards Archived 28 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ Reed, John. "USAF Getting More Penetrating Power." DoD Buzz, 8 April 2011.
  15. ^ Capaccio, Tony, "Bunker-Buster Bomb Improvements Sought By Pentagon Win Approval", Bloomberg L.P., 9 February 2012.
  16. ^ Capaccio, Tony. "30,000-Pound Bunker Buster Bomb Now Ready". Bloomberg, 14 November 2011.
  17. ^ "The Air Force now has the MOP". Archived from the original on 2 December 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  18. ^ Thompson, Mark. "Key Point: Bunker-Busters Come In Both Small and Large Sizes". Time. 9 March 2012.
  19. ^ Capaccio, Tony (15 January 2013). "Boeing's 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb improved, Pentagon says". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 29 March 2013.
  20. ^ "Northrop, USAF Explore Diverse B-2 Weapons Options."
  21. ^ Daily Report AirForce Magazine, 25 June 2010.
  22. ^ "Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) - Next Generation Penetrator (NGP)"
  23. ^ Trimble, Stephen. "Penetrate faster, harder with new AFRL weapon."Flightglobal, 20 February 2011. Archived 23 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "USAF Focuses On Next-Gen Hard-Target Killer."
  25. ^ a b "DTRA Fact Sheets". Defense Threat Reduction Agency. July 2007. Archived from the original on 23 February 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d Parken, Oliver (3 May 2023). "Our Best Look Yet At The Massive Ordnance Penetrator Bunker Buster Bomb". The Warzone. Retrieved 22 May 2023.

External links[edit]