While US officials were meeting with their Iranian counterparts to finalize a nuclear deal, the Pentagon was busy reworking and improving the biggest ‘bunker buster bomb’ in the US arsenal, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The development and testing was brought to a head in a test that took place in January. According to senior US officials, the weapon could destroy or disable Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facilities should the recently signed nuclear deal fall apart and the White House decide to take military action.
The refurbishment and further development of the weapon included a reworking of the electronic countermeasures that the weapon possesses, which will prevent the electronic jamming of its guidance systems.
“The Pentagon continues to be focused on being able to provide military options for Iran if needed,” a senior US official said. “We have not taken our eyes off the ball.”
While work on the the deadliest of conventional bombs in the arsenal took place before the current round of talks began with Iran, the latest tests took place in January in Missouri. The bomb was dropped by a B-2 Bomber that departed from Whiteman Air Force base, which plays host to the 509th Bomb Wing, assigned to the Eighth Air Force of the Air Force Global Strike Command.
The 509 BW operates the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber, designed to be employed to strike high-value targets that are either out of range of conventional aircraft or considered to be too heavily defended for conventional aircraft to strike without a high risk of loss.
US officials. who together with other world powers reached an outline deal with Iran regarding Iranian nuclear development, said that it remained unclear whether a final deal can be reached by the June 30 deadline, and that major gaps remained between the two sides.
Iranian officials for their part have denied plans to build nuclear weapons but continue to develop their nuclear program, hand in hand with their long range missile delivery system.
In a speech made on the day of the signing of the framework deal, US President Barack Obama said that he sees a deal with Iran as the best way to avert another war in the Middle East. However, should diplomacy fail, the president acknowledged that military options are still on the table.
“The United States military prepares for a broad range of potential threats to include developing munitions designed to address deeply buried and hardened facilities,” said Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has continually voiced his criticism of the deal claiming that it will allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and lead to an attack on Israel and other Western nations.
Both the German and US governments, who took part in the talks brokered by the P5+1, attempted to reassure Netanyahu that the new agreement guidelines will prevent a new war in the Middle East and take into account Israel’s safety.