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In tests, the GBU-28 bombs proved capable of penetrating over 30 meters (100 ft) of earth or 6 meters (20 ft) of solid concrete.
The GBU-28 is regarded as accurate and able to penetrate deep into a target, which is why it has been described as the "bunker buster.
discussed the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 bunker-busting bombs to Israel, noting that the transfer should be handled quietly to avoid any allegations the US government is helping Israel prepare for a strike against Iran.
Munitions that can penetrate hardened facilities, like the GBU-28 bunker buster, have been around for decades.
One such was development in a matter of weeks of the 5,000-pound GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" deep penetrator bomb.
The American GBU-28 weapon - the so-called bunker buster - can pierce about 23 feet of concrete and 100 feet of soil.
The Pentagon notifies Congress of the possible sale of 5,000lb GBU-28 bombs to Israel, developed during the 1991 Gulf war to destroy Saddam Hussain's hardened command centres.
The first successful drop of live GBU-28 B/B series weapons came on the last dedicated flight for the developmental test and evaluation phase of the program.
Guided Munitions (68%) 19,948 BGM-109 TLAM 802 AGM-114 Hellfire 562 AGM-130 4 AGM-154 JSOW 253 AGM-65 Maverick 918 AGM-84 SLAM-ER 3 AGM-86C/D CALCM 153 AGM-88 HARM 408 CBU-103 WCMD 818 CBU-105 WCMD, SFW 88 CBU-107 WCMD 2 EGBU-27 GPS/LGB 98 GBU-10 LGB 236 GBU-12 LGB 7,114 GBU-16 LGB 1,233 GBU-24 LGB 23 GBU-27 LGB 11 GBU-28 LGB 1 GBU-31 JDAM 5,086 GBU-32 JDAM 768 GBU-35 JDAM 675 GBU-37 JDAM 13 UK Guided 679 Unguided Munitions (32%) 9,251 M117 1,625 Mk-82 5,504 Mk-83 1,692 Mk-84 6 CBU-87 118 CBU-99 182 UK Unguided 124
The laser-guided GBU-28 and the GPS-guided GBU-27 are 5,000-pound bombs designed to be dropped from the air and to burrow up to six metres into concrete or 30 metres into earth before exploding.
A missile the length of the current GBU-28 penetrator, modified to strike the surface at twice the GBU-28's current impact speed, could smash through the cover of earth and reinforced concrete and destroy the facility with conventional explosives.
The Bunker-Buster was used extensively in the 1991 Gulf War, with the most effective model the GBU-28.
The GBU-28, whose inventory and performance characteristics are classified secret, was developed for the Gulf War to strike deeply buried targets.
The use of the 5,000lb GBU-28 weapons to target underground installations could mark the second phase of the campaign involving ground troops, according to Washington sources.
The most likely strike craft used will have been Navy aircraft from carriers, including F18s, electronic jamming craft to knock out radar signals on the ground, and the F15e which can carry GBU-28 bombs, capable of going underground.
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- GBU-15 Automatic Test Station