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.
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.’
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
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