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14 June 2009

Pentagon Orders Massive Bunker-Busters for Underground WMD

from Danger Room by David Hambling

North Korea may be readying another nuclear test — one of many reasons why the Pentagon is stepping up efforts to neutralize hardened bunkers, packed with weapons of mass destruction. It’s a tricky problem; to do it, you need something out of the ordinary. Which is why the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency has an ambitious goal of developing a bunker buster five times as strong as the current models by the end of the year, and ten times more powerful by 2013. They’re doing it with a combination of improved guidance, “novel payloads”… and much bigger bombs.

One key strand is the Integrated Precision Ordnance Delivery System (IPODS), which will destroy targets “far down a tunnel.” How? Rather than simply hitting the bunker, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency is aiming for a small target – those vulnerable blast doors at the tunnel’s mouth. As Danger Room revealed previously, the U.S. Air Force has looked at ’skip bombing’ with bunker-busting munitions to attack tunnel doors using a special guidance system. Instead of hitting vertically, the bomb is skipped off the ground in front of the door and goes through horizontally. IPODS looks like it may take a similar approach, but perhaps using something even bigger.

(Image courtesy Wired.com)

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