Military Aviation

Forget the F/A-18 Super Hornet: A B-2 Spirit paired with Massive Ordnance Penetrator would likely get the job done in Top Gun: Maverick. Here’s how.

In reality, in Top Gun: Maverick a B-2 stealth bomber would likely get the job done with a Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb.

Almost everyone has seen Top Gun: Maverick.

Top Gun: Maverick is the kind of massive, crowd pleasing blockbuster that felt almost extinct after a global pandemic threatened to end the theatrical experience. Loved by both audiences and critics, the movie has become a phenomenon and the most successful movie of 2022.

The plot of the movie is about the US Navy being tasked with destroying an unsanctioned uranium enrichment plant, which sits in a deep depression at the end of a canyon. It is defended by SA-3 Goa surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), GPS jammers, and what fifth-generation Sukhoi Su-57 fighters. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell devises a plan to attack with two pairs of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets.

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But was there any other aircraft that could perform the mission instead of the F/A-18 Super Hornet?

‘Hollywood script writers are not military tacticians,’ Brian Trott, former Aviation History Researcher, explains on Quora.

‘In reality, a B-2 stealth bomber would likely get the job done with a Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) bomb. The MOP is a precision-guided, “bunker buster” bomb used by the United States Air Force (USAF). It is a weapon designed to accomplish difficult missions where destroying a weapons of mass destruction facility is well-protected and deep underground fortified by steel and cement. It has a 5300 lb (2400kg) warhead and uses a 30,000 lb (14,000 kg) penetrator.

‘This weapon, paired with the B-2’s ability to sneak deep into enemy territory, give the USAF the ability to destroy the most fortified and high-value bunkers on earth. This is the weapon that will be used in the very first moments of an air campaign in places like North Korea or Iran. It has a highly unique capability that no other armed forces on earth possesses.’

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At this point one might claim that the MOP is GPS-guided, and the enemy in Top Gun: Maverick is jamming GPS, so it won’t work.

But Trott points out:

‘The B-2 can put a MOP on target regardless of the enemy attempts to jam it. Smart bombs technology is designed to compensate for a loss of the GPS signal and have backup navigational systems.’

The following video features a B-2 Spirit dropping MOPs for testing.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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