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Pentagon’s 30,000-pound bunker-buster ‘superbomb’ ready for use

29 July, 2012

The biggest conventional bomb ever developed is ready to wreak destruction upon the enemies of the US. Air Force Secretary Michael Donley said its record-breaking bunker-buster has become operational after years of testing.

­“If it needed to go today, we would be ready to do that,” said Donley. “We continue to do testing on the bomb to refine its capabilities, and that is ongoing. We also have the capability to go with existing configuration today.”

The Pentagon has spent $330 million to develop and deliver more than 20 of the precision-guided Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bunker-busters, which are designed to blast through up to 200 feet of concrete.

Although there has previously been a bigger nuclear device, the new conventional rocket is six times the weight of the previous bunker-buster used by the US Air Force, and carries an explosive payload of 5,300 pounds.

US military chiefs openly admitted the weapon was built to attack the fortified nuclear facilities of “rogue states” such as Iran and North Korea. Although the Pentagon insists that it is not aimed at a specific threat, unnamed officials within the ministry have repeatedly claimed the bomb is being tailor-made to disable Iranian nuclear facilities at Fordo, or at least to intimidate Tehran. …

Read on: http://on.rt.com/f9wt57

Why Romney Is Wrong on Defense Cuts

By Romesh Ratnesar
July 25, 2012

Mitt Romney’s speech to the gathering of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., offered his most expansive statements on foreign policy since the former governor clinched the Republican Party’s nomination for president. Making headlines was Romney’s suggestion that the White House, and possibly President Obama, has deliberately leaked sensitive intelligence for political gain. Romney likely cheered conservatives with his muscular rhetoric — “I am not ashamed of American power” — and his denunciations of Obama’s policies toward (by my count) Israel, Iran, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Egypt, Venezuela, Poland, and the Czech Republic. By political standards, it was a pretty effective speech. But it also revealed a view of national security that is hopelessly out of date.

Romney blasted Obama for proposing “arbitrary,” “across-the-board,” “radical” cuts in military spending that would jeopardize national security at a time when the U.S. faces an unprecedented array of threats. Leave aside the fact that the Congressional Republican leadership agreed to $500 billion in mandatory defense cuts, effective next January, as part of last summer’s “deal” to raise the government’s debt ceiling. …

Read on: www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-07-25/why-romney-is-wrong-on-defense-cuts

Iran ‘ready to fire missiles at US bases’

Democratic Underground
Source: The Guardian

Iran is prepared to launch missiles at US bases throughout the Gulf within minutes of an attack on the Islamic Republic, according to a commander of the country’s Revolutionary Guards.

In an apparent response to reports that the US has increased its military presence in the Gulf, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards’ air force said on Wednesdaythat missiles had been aimed at 35 US military bases in the Gulf as well as targets in Israel, ready to be launched in case of an attack.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh as saying: “We have thought of measures to set up bases and deploy missiles to destroy all these bases in the early minutes after an attack.”

Hajizadeh’s remarks were made on the sidelines of a three-day war game called Great Prophet Seven, which Iranian officials claimed was a show of defiance against western pressure, including the US and EU embargo against imports of Iranian oil that came into effect on 1 July.


Obama’s Promise Kept to Israel

The Jewish Daily Forward
By Mel Levine
July 15, 2012

President Made Good on Missile Defense Assurance

“I can assure you, if somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.” This was the vow made by then-senator Barack Obama in Sderot in 2008, after the besieged Israeli city had been hit by more than 2,000 rockets,

During his first term as president, Barack Obama has made good on this assurance. Most recently, on May 17, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that the United States would immediately provide Israel with $70 million for the purchase of additional rocket defense batteries. This aid comes after the Obama administration had already given Israel $205 million in 2011, in addition to the $3 billion Israel receives in annual foreign aid.

Since 2009, in fact, the United States has committed more than $1 billion to helping Israel develop and deploy a comprehensive missile defense system. Designed to counter not only rocket fire from Gaza and southern Lebanon but also the missiles in Iran’s arsenals, it has already proven itself in battle. The missile defense system is absolutely vital to Israel’s long-term security, and it’s an example of how, since President Obama took office, America’s commitment to the Jewish state’s defenses has grown where it counts the most.

American funding for David’s Sling, Israel’s missile-defense system, more than doubled over the last four years — from $52 million during the last year of President George W. Bush’s administration to $110.5 million this year. Funding for the advanced system, developed to defend against the ballistic- and cruise-missile threat from Hezbollah, Syria and Iran, has increased every year since President Obama took office in 2009. The system’s interceptor missile, the Stunner, has already been successfully tested, and the first operational David’s Sling battery is scheduled to be deployed in early 2013. …

Read on: http://forward.com/articles/159247/obamas-promise-kept-to-israel/

Raytheon Wins Boeing Contract Worth $636 Million To Develop Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle

July 10, 2012

Raytheon announced on Monday that it has won a $636 million contract awarded by Boeing to continue work on the key interceptor for the U.S. ground-based missile defense system.

Under the terms of the contract, which extends until 2018, Raytheon will provide EKV development Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle, fielding, testing, system engineering, integration, configuration management, equipment manufacturing, operation and sustainment.

After two failed missile defense tests in 2010, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency last year halted deliveries of the advanced warhead. An investigation looking into the failures found that the problem came from a design flaw on the warhead’s advanced guidance system that could only be detected in outer space.

Designed to destroy incoming ballistic missile threats by colliding with them, a concept sometimes described as “hit to kill”, the EKV represents the centerpiece for the Missile Defense Agency’s GMD as the intercept component of the Ground Based Interceptor, also known as GBI, which is designed to engage high-speed ballistic missile warheads in space. …


The B-1 bomber – Back to the future

USA Today
By Tom Vanden Brook

B-1 bomber mission shifts from Afghanistan to China, Pacific

President Obama’s new military strategy is taking shape here on the sun-seared grasslands of West Texas where B-1 bomber pilots train.

The strategy pivots from missions over the deserts and mountains of Afghanistan to targets on the sea and, though the military doesn’t come out directly and say it, in China. “We’re going back to the future,” says Col. David Been, commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess. “As the balance shifts from almost exclusively Afghanistan right now, we’re shifting to the Asia-Pacific region.”

After a decade of ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — 6,350 Americans killed and more than $1 trillion spent — Obama announced the new strategy in January that looks to counter the rising power of China. The changing role of the B-1 is a prime example of how the Air Force is responding.

Suddenly, the B-1, a plane that once seemed irrelevant after the end of the Cold War, is being repurposed again. First, the B-1 became the workhorse of the air war in Afghanistan. Now, as the Pentagon’s strategic vision shifts to Asia, so too is the B-1 …

Read on: www.usatoday.com/money/industries/manufacturing/story/2012-05-11/b-1-bomber-obama-new-strategy/56097706/1

U.S. building Afghanistan a new $92 million ‘Pentagon’

By Joshua Partlow (The Washington Post)
July 1, 2012

The United States is spending $92 million to build Afghanistan a new “Pentagon,” a massive five-story military headquarters with domed roofs and a high-tech basement command center that will link Afghan generals with their troops. Even with American troops beginning their withdrawal, the U.S. government is still working its way through a $10 billion menu of construction projects. The United States is also building a $54 million Kabul headquarters for the Interior Ministry, which oversees the Afghan police, and a $102 million base for the military’s 201st Corps in eastern Afghanistan. …

Read in full: www.star-telegram.com/2012/07/01/4072462/us-building-afghanistan-a-huge.html