US Air Force Prepared if Diplomacy With Iran Fails: General
The United States has powerful bombs at the ready in the case of possible military action against Iran and work is under way to bolster their firepower, the air force chief said Wednesday.
General Norton Schwartz, air force chief of staff, declined to say whether US weapons — including a 30,000-pound massive ordnance penetrator (MOP) bomb — could reach nuclear sites in Iran that were concealed or buried deep underground.
“We have an operational capability and you wouldn’t want to be there when we used it,” said Schwartz, when asked about the MOP bomb.
“Not to say that we can’t continue to make improvements and we are,” he told defense reporters.
Amid speculation that a nuclear site dug into the side of a mountain near Qom is beyond the reach of American weapons, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has acknowledged shortcomings with the giant MOP bomb and said the Pentagon was working to improve the explosive.
“The bottom line is we have a capability but we’re not sitting on our hands, we’ll continue to improve it over time,” Schwartz said.
Asked about recent comments from retired senior officers that some targets in Iran are immune from US air power, Schwartz said: “It goes without saying that strike is about physics. The deeper you go the harder it gets.”
But he added that the US arsenal “is not an inconsequential capability.”