Rare image of a B-2 stealth bomber and its Massive Ordnance Penetrator bunker buster bomb

Even if B-52s have been used to test it, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber is the only aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory currently capable to carry and release the heaviest U.S. bomb, the 30,000-lb GBU-57 Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).

The heavy GBU-57 is a 20-foot long GPS-guided bomb believed to be able to penetrate 200 feet of concrete before exploding, thus being capable to hit and destroy deeply buried targets.

Like bunkers in Iran, Syria or North Korea….

There are not many images showing the GBU-57 and even less show the MOP next to its intended platform. That’s why the top image, taken by Jim Mumaw in Jul. 2009, is extremely interesting and rare.

Image credit: Jim Mumaw


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. I’ve searched for this before, and never found a good answer :

    When a B-2 drops a MOP from operating altitude – how fast is the MOP going when it hits the ground?

    • After a quick search I’ve not found the altitude that it’s going to be dropped from. However, the MOP is designed to work on targets that are at 10,000 feet of altitude, and the ceiling of the B2 is 50,000 feet, so we can assume that it’s designed to be dropped from around 40,000 feet, (~12,000m).
      Assuming no air resistance an object dropped from 12,000m would be travelling at about 485m/s. That’s about 1000 mph, or just over Mach 1.
      Obviously air resistance is going to have some effect, to compare, the WWII Grand Slam penetrating bomb was designed to be travelling at 320m/s when it hit the ground, but they were dropped from only 3,500m.

  2. Judging by the somewhat flimsy design of the stand that this 30,000lb bomb is standing on… I think we can safely assume this is actually a model of a MOP

    • I had exactly the same thought when I looked at that stand. Four small rollers, each supporting 7,500 lbs plus the weight of the stand makes this look very much like a light weight model.

      • Looks too small to be 30’000 lbs, that’s a hell of a big bomb. Only 18′ long, very dense penetrator/nosecone…. If you compare against a grand slam (nothing new under the sun eh?) that’s only 22’000 lbs.

    • The blue band is the sign that it is an inert munition. Good call on that stand.

      If it had a yellow band, that’s a different story.

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