USAF MOP integration success
The USAF is attributing the successful integration of its Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) onto its B-2 Spirit stealth bomber to its weapons load trainer, because it is ‘that close’ to the original aircraft.
The simulator enables the 509th Bomb Wing to practice loading the MOP without taking an aircraft out of service, and is ‘an identical match to the B-2’ in terms of the interior shape and size of the weapons bays.
‘The weapons load is that close to the B-2 that they can do anything as far as munitions-wise with the weapons load trainer that you can do on the actual aircraft,’ Capt Michael Crass of the 509th Bomb Wing told the Defence IQ Air Weapons Integration conference in London on 26 May.
‘You wouldn’t be able to tell if this is the airframe or the weapons load trainer.’
The system is a full-scale, easy weapon loading trainer, with two functional weapon bays, just like the B-2 itself, and it simulates the interior of the aircraft, producing a high-fidelity mock-up of the MOP.
The MOP is a GPS and precision-guided bomb designed to penetrate dirt, rock and reinforced concrete.
The 13,608kg weapon contains some 2,404 kg of conventional explosives inside a 6m long body of hardened steel.
Northrop Grumman, the USAF’s prime contractor for the B-2, boasts that the aircraft can: ‘Deliver 80 independently targeted 500lb [227kg] class bombs from its smart bomb rack assembly or up to 16 2,000lb [907kg] class weapons from its rotary launcher’.
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