But citing unnamed U.S. officials, the newspaper said the military was stepping up efforts to make it more powerful.
The 13.6-ton “bunker-buster” bomb, known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was specifically designed to take out the hardened fortifications built by Iran and North Korea, the report said.
But initial tests indicated that the bomb, as currently configured, would not be capable of destroying some of Iran’s facilities, either because of their depth or because Tehran has added new fortifications to protect them, the paper noted.
Doubts about its bomb’s effectiveness prompted the Pentagon this month to secretly submit a request to Congress for funding to enhance the bomb’s ability to penetrate deeper into rock, concrete and steel before exploding, The Journal noted.
The Defense Department has spent about $330 million so far to develop about 20 of the bombs, which are built by Boeing Co., the report pointed out.
The Pentagon is seeking about $82 million more to make the bomb more effective, The Journal said.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, in an interview with The Journal Thursday, acknowledged the bomb’s shortcomings against some of Iran’s deepest bunkers.
He said more development work would be done and that he expected the bomb to be ready to take on the deepest bunkers soon.
“We’re still trying to develop them,” Panetta said.
Source: Al Arabiya; The Wall Street Journal