Trump to strike North Korea? Upgrades 30,000lbs ‘Penetrator bomb’ capable of reaching Kim

The Doomsday Clock time was moved 30 seconds closer to midnight by scientists yesterday after experts warn humanity edges towards destroying itself with “nuclear weapons taking centre stage”.

Now the US Airforce has confirmed the fourth upgrade to its Boeing GBU-57 bomb has been completed and the military’s current inventory is being retrofitted.

Captain Emily Grabowski, an Air Force spokeswoman, said the modification “has improved the performance against hard and deeply buried targets”.

The GBU-57, also known as the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, is bigger than the 21,600-pound bomb the US dropped on ISIS last year.

The 20.5-foot-long bomb carries more than 5,300 pounds of explosives and is guided by GPS satellites, according to Pentagon’s Defence Threat Reduction Agency website.

It could be used if the US launched an attack on North Korea and is capable of hitting underground nuclear or missile facilities, should the need arise.

Three B-2 bombers were deployed to Guam this month in a planned rotation, but Ms Grabowski declined to say whether the GBU-57 had also been sent to the territory.

Following tests of the weapon in May last year, the Pentagon deemed the bomb effective “when paired with proper tactics, techniques, and procedures”.

In May, the Air Force dropped three of the bombs from B-2 bombers over the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek said that the GBU-57 bomb “is primarily intended for soft to medium surface targets covering extended areas, targets contained in an environment such as caves or canyons, clearing extensive mine fields, and for psychological effects”.

The announcement comes as after former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger – who served in the White House during the Cold War – warned North Korea’s nuclear programme is becoming ‘“irreversible”.

Mr Kissinger said: “North Korea acquired nuclear weapons to assure its regime’s survival; in its view, to give them up would be tantamount to suicide.

“An outcome that was widely considered unacceptable is now on the verge of becoming irreversible.”

Yesterday the Doomsday Clock time was moved 30 seconds closer to midnight.

The metaphorical clock, created by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, now stands at two minutes to midnight – which is the closest it has been to midnight since 1953 when hydrogen bombs were being tested for the US and Soviet Union.

The clock assesses the danger of apocalypse based on the threats such as nuclear Armageddon, bioterrorism, climate change and other catastrophes.

North Korea earlier this week declared it will “significantly mark” the army’s founding anniversary on February 8 amid fears the rogue state plans to launch another missile test.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), Kim Jong-un’s mouthpiece, said in a report that it has changed the anniversary date of the establishment of the Korean People’s Army, which previously fell on April 25.

KCNA said: “February 8 will be marked as the Army-Building Day.

“The Cabinet and other relevant organs will take practical steps to significantly mark the founding anniversary of the Korean People’s Arm