'US successfully tests bunker buster bombs'

'Yediot Aharonot' reports that US bomb destroyed replica of underground nuclear facility in order to allay Israeli fears over Iran.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
June 7, 2013 14:49
2 minute read.
Suspected uranium-enrichment facility near Qom

Iranian nuclear program 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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In an effort to show Israel and other ally states that it is capable of striking Iran's nuclear plants, the US has recently conducted a test of its bunker buster bomb, destroying a replica of an underground nuclear facility, Hebrew daily Yediot Aharonot reported on Friday.

The nuclear facility replica, that cost millions of dollars to build, was made of concrete and buried under dozens of feet of dirt and rocks, Yediot reported.

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The results of the test were reported to the US's ally states, among them Israel, to show that Washington is serious about its intentions to strike Tehran's nuclear facilities, and to demonstrate its ability to specifically target Iran’s underground Fordow uranium enrichment plant near the city of Qom.

At a joint news conference last week with German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Iran needs to understand that international patience was waning over the nuclear program that Tehran says is meant for peaceful purposes.

"Every month that goes by gets more dangerous," Kerry said.

"The Iranian nuclear question remains critical to all of us," Kerry said. "We will continue to consult and to work very closely with Germany and all of our P5+1 partners on the next steps that are based on our dual-track approach."

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Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Washington had upgraded its bunker buster bomb.

The state of the art GBU-57 B bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), is 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg.) and has recently been upgraded with “adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and hi-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex,” according to the Journal.

Each MOP bomb costs $3.5 million to manufacture and its development cost half a billion dollars, according to Yediot.

According to the Journal, US officials have previously showed video footage to their Israeli counterparts of an earlier version of the bunker buster in action and explained the advanced features that have been added.

The video displays the bomb hitting the ground near its target and setting off a massive underground explosion, sources told the Journal.

US defense officials have recently assured their Israeli counterparts that cuts imposed at the beginning of the year to the American defense system will not affect preparations made towards a possible strike in Iran, Yediot reported.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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