Exclusive: Pentagon delays new "bunker buster" bomb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A “bunker buster” bomb with more than 10 times the explosive power of its predecessor will be put into service by the United States next December, six months later than previously scheduled, the U.S. Defense Department told Reuters on Friday.

The deployment’s timing may help shape calculations of the United States and others in long-running standoffs with Iran and North Korea over their nuclear programs.

The precision-guided, 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, is designed to wreck potential targets such as deeply buried nuclear facilities that are beyond the reach of existing bombs.

“Funding delays and enhancements to the planned test schedule have pushed the capability availability date to December 2010,” Tara Rigler, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in an email.

Reporting by Jim Wolf; editing by Stacey Joyce