Potential opponents of the U.S. armed forces learned an important lesson during the first Gulf War. As smart bombs rained down with pinpoint precision on Iraqi command centers, weapons storage depots and other facilities, it became clear that fixed military assets on the surface were extremely vulnerable to American aerial assault. To survive, key operational bases and weapons caches would have to be situated underground in fortified concrete bunkers or inside hard-rock mountains.
In the years following Operation Desert Storm, U.S. military strategists debated the best way to destroy such "hardened" and deeply buried targets, knowing full well that attacks on subterranean bunkers or weapons stockpiles would face uncertain chances of success. Worse, they could inadvertently disperse any buried chemical or biological agents into the surrounding areas--with lethal effect.
This article was originally published with the title Nuclear Bunker Buster Bombs.