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U.S. Stealth Drone Helped Test Huge Bomb

U.S. Stealth Drone Helped Test Huge Bomb

Two years ago, the U.S. Air Force brought the stealthy Lockheed Martin RQ-170 Sentinel drone and the Massive Ordnance Penetrator — two of America’s most secretive weapons — together for a single test.

The Pentagon denies that it intends the huge MOP munition — which only the B-2 stealth bomber carries and which can punch deep into the ground to destroy underground bunkers — for use against any particular countries. But the experimental pairing in 2012 could have been a sort of rehearsal for potential strikes in the Middle East—strikes against targets too heavily-fortified and too well-defended for all but the stealthiest attackers with the most powerful bombs.

Technically, the primary goal of the flight test from two years ago was to see if fixes to the 15-ton MOP—“including tail fin modifications and … a second fuze”—worked as expected, an official budget document explains. As part of the October 2012 trial run at New Mexico’s White Sands Missile Range, one of the Air Force’s bat-wing RQ-170s assessed the damage from the MOP drop, according to a heavily redacted historical document War Is Boring obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

For the complete story by Joe Trevithick of RealClearDefense, click here.

Updated: November 12, 2014 — 12:27 PM

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