MOPping Up: The USA’s 30,000 Pound GBU-57 BombDefense Industry Daily
Jun 10, 2013 16:08 UTC by Defense Industry Daily staff
During the Second World War, attacking heavily protected targets like U-boat pens and protected “V-weapon” facilities was a key challenge. Enter a brilliant British engineer named Barnes Wallis, fresh off the dam-busting “Upkeep” bouncing bomb. His next trick was a 12,000 pound weapon called the “Tallboy external link,” a streamlined, spin-stabilized bomb with a claimed terminal velocity of Mach 1 external link when dropped from 20,000 feet. That mass, carrying 5,200 pounds of Torpex D1 explosive, made a crater 80 feet deep x 100 feet across when it hit. By 1945, Wallis’ next “Earthquake bomb” was in production – the 22,000 pound “Grand Slam external link.” His creations made short work of U-boat pens external link.
These bombs went out of fashion with the advent of nuclear weapons, but if you wait long enough, fashion comes around again. Enter the USA’s new GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). Despite additional funding, and October promises of accelerated deployment, the MOP did not arrive by mid-2010, as planned. Development continues, however, including a set of upgrades ordered in 2012 that are aimed at closing the gap against specific targets…
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Torpex is a secondary explosive 50% more powerful than TNT by mass.
Torpex is composed of 42% RDX, 40% TNT and 18% powdered aluminium. It was used in the Second World War from late 1942. The name is short for 'Torpedo Explosive', having been originally developed for use in torpedoes. Torpex proved to be particularly useful in underwater munitions because the aluminium component had the effect of making the explosive pulse last longer, which enhanced the destructive power.
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Grand Slam bomb
Uploaded on Oct 5, 2007
The Grand Slam (Earth Quake bomb), was a very large freefall bomb developed by the British aeronautical engineer Barnes Wallis (who also made the bouncing bomb) in late 1944. At a weight of 9.98 t (22,000 lb) the Grand Slam was almost twice the weight of his previous large bomb, the 5.44 t (12,000 lb) Tallboy. Both weapons were intended for use against large and protected buildings, structures against which smaller bombs would be ineffective. The idea of the earthquake bomb was explored by Barnes Wallis at the very start of World War II but at the time there were no aircraft capable of carrying the 10-ton weapon he envisaged (notwithstanding Wallis's suggestions to build one, a six-engine high-altitude bomber called "Victory"). Wallis returned to his designs in the latter part of the war and the first earthquake bomb he developed was the 5-ton Tallboy. It proved effective in demolishing large structures, including heavily-protected bunkers (it was thus an early "bunker buster").