Bombs possess a terrifying capacity to destroy anything in their path. Throughout history, there have been various instances where effective bombing has tilted the balance of the war. Given their destructive potential, certain countries have built underground bunkers in a bid to offer some protection. However, some special bombs pack the power to penetrate the toughest of shelters, including bunkers.
Such bombs are aptly called bunker buster bombs, or simply, bunker busters. Besides underground spaces, it can also demolish targets guarded by reinforced walls. Therefore, this bunker-busting weapon carries a threat much greater than conventional bombs.
Bunker busters go through protective walls and fortifications as if they aren’t even there and accomplish their mission. Here’s a video showing a compilation of bunker buster test strikes.
Bunker buster: Origin and history
In 1939, Barnes Wallis, a British weapons designer, came up with the concept of earthquake bombs. These new bombs were used in World War II and relied on high-grade steel to break through defenses. They inspired the development of the weapon which eventually became the bunker buster.
Another conceptual forefather would be the Disney bomb conceived by another Brit named Edward Terrell. Interestingly, most of its composition was a hard case that bulldozed its way toward the target. To be more precise, although the bomb weighed 2000kgs, the actual explosive content was only about 230kg.
The modern-day bunker busters came into existence during the Gulf War in 1991. Since Iraq’s military strongholds existed across caves in mountainous regions, it was tough to attack those spots with conventional artillery. This propelled the development of a prototype bunker buster aka GBU-28 that could resolve the issue.
How do bunker busters penetrate underground shelters?
Bunker busters dig deep into the ground and even smash through toughened roofs by making the most of physics. The bombs are built in a way that they pack a significant pass in a narrow space, making them very heavy. When a military plane drops the bunker buster, the latter generates high kinetic energy that helps it penetrate barriers and hit the target.
To give you an idea, the GBU-28 bunker buster bomb is powerful enough to go 30.5m (100ft) into the ground before exploding. On the other hand, it can pierce through 6m (20ft) when it comes to concrete barriers.
Undoubtedly, bunker busters are of great importance to any nation’s military as they can take out well-protected strategic targets. Besides this weapon, here’s another war commodity that is of great value, a battle tank.