The Pentagon has brought forward to December 2009 the target-date for producing the first 15-ton super bunker-buster bomb (GBU-57A/B) Massive Ordinance Penetrator, which can reach a depth of 60.09 meters underground before exploding. DEBKAfile's military sources report that top defense agencies and air force units were also working against the clock to adapt the bay of a B2a Stealth bomber for carrying and delivering the bomb.
The Pentagon has ordered the number of bombs rolling off the production line increased from four to ten - a rush job triggered in May by the discovery that Iran was hiding a second uranium enrichment plant under a mountain near Qom - a discovery which prompted this week's international outcry.
Congress has since quietly inserted the necessary funding in the 2009 budget.
All this urgency indicates that the Obama administration has been preparing military muscle to back up the international condemnation of Iran's concealed nuclear bomb program, its sanctions threat and his willingness to join the negotiations with Iran opening on Oct. 1 in Geneva. Tehran may have to take into account a possible one-time surgical strike against its underground enrichment facility as a warning shot should its defiance continue. In particular, the world powers this week demanded that Iran open up all its nuclear facilities and programs to full and immediate international inspection. Failure to do so could bring forth further US military action.
According to our military sources, the earliest date for the accelerated Pentagon program to produce a super bunker buster bomb mounted on a stealth bomber is December 2009 or January 2010. This too is three years ahead of its original schedule.
Pressed into service are two US Air Force research centers for work on adapting the radar-evading stealth bomber to the giant bomb: the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base and the Munitions Directorate and Air Armament Center, both headquartered at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.
Last month, DEBKAfile quoted Air Force Lt. Gen. Mark Shackelford as disclosing that the Pentagon had decided to accelerate the production of 10-12 giant bunker buster bombs in response to intelligence received of Iranian and North Korean underground nuclear plants.
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