A bunker buster is a type of munition that is designed to penetrate hardened targets or targets buried deep underground, such as military bunkers.
There are thousands of military facilities around the world that defy conventional attack.
The U.S. military has developed several different weapons to attack these underground fortresses.
Known as bunker busters, these bombs penetrate deep into the earth or right through a dozen feet of reinforced concrete before exploding.
These bombs have made it possible to reach and destroy facilities that would have been impossible to attack otherwise.
Bunker Busters Design
Bunker Buster’s casing consists of an approximately 16-foot section of artillery barrel that is 14.5 inches in diameter. Artillery barrels are made of extremely strong hardened steel so that they can withstand the repeated blasts of artillery shells when they are fired.
Inside this steel, the casing is nearly 650 pounds of Tritonal explosive. Tritonal is a mixture of TNT (80 percent) and aluminum powder (20 percent). The aluminum improves the brisance of the TNT (the speed at which the explosive develops its maximum pressure)
The addition of aluminum makes Tritonal about 18 percent more powerful than TNT alone.
Attached to the front of the barrel is a laser-guidance assembly. Either a spotter on the ground or in the bomber illuminates the target with a laser and the bomb homes in on the illuminated spot.
The guidance assembly steers the bomb with fins that are part of the assembly. Attached to the end of the barrel are stationary fins that provide stability during flight.
The finished bomb, known as the GBU-28 or the BLU-113, is 19 feet long, 14.5 inches in diameter and weighs 4,400 pounds .
How Bunker Busters is Used
The bomb is dropped from an airplane so that this tube develops a great deal of speed, and therefore kinetic energy, as it falls.
When the bomb hits the earth, it is like a massive nail shot from a nail gun. In tests, the GBU-28 has penetrated 100 feet (30.5 meters) of earth or 20 feet of concrete.
In a typical mission, intelligence sources or aerial/satellite images reveal the location of the bunker. A GBU-28 is loaded into a B2 Stealth bomber, an F-111 or similar aircraft.