The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) successfully conducted the first explosive test of the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) conventional weapon concept yesterday at White Sands Missile Range, N.M. The test consisted of a statically emplaced conventional weapon within a DTRA test tunnel. "This demonstration of the bomb's capability to defeat tunnels was a significant step in the development of this innovative concept," said Robert Hastie, Ph.D., MOP program manager.

The conventional 30,000-pound penetrating bomb is designed to defeat hard and deeply buried targets such as bunker and tunnel facilities. Designed to be carried in B-2 and B-52 bombers and employed at high altitudes, the MOP's innovative design features include a Global Positioning System navigation system and over 5,300 pounds of explosives.

DTRA is funding and managing the $30 million MOP technology development under the agency's hard and deeply buried target program. The program's goal is to develop and demonstrate technologies to support potential acquisition of such a weapon in the future. The planning for this MOP test started nearly three years ago, and this test is not related to the recently cancelled Divine Strake experiment.

The Air Force Research Laboratory Munitions Directorate, Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., is executing the MOP contract and providing management and technical support for the technology development. The AFRL Munitions Directorate develops, demonstrates and transitions science and technology for air-launched munitions for defeating ground fixed, mobile/relocatable, air and space targets to assure pre-eminence of U.S. air and space forces.

DTRA safeguards America and its allies from weapons of mass destruction by providing capabilities to reduce, eliminate, and counter the threat, and mitigate its effects. The agency conducts studies and develops technology and procedures to counter existing threats, and develops specific capabilities for their defeat. This Department of Defense combat support agency is located at Fort Belvoir, Va., and operates field offices worldwide.