Deep Digger is different. It does not depend on the kinetic energy of the warhead at all – in fact, it parachutes down. Then it stars drilling. The weapon is limited only by how deep the drilling process can go, which is a matter of how deep it can ‘muck’ (clear debris from the shaft). And although the details are classified, that is much, much deeper than any kinetic weapon will ever go. In the tests last year, it demonstrated a tunneled down ten meters -- about 50% more than the BLU-113, which is the current record holder.Give the US a reason to come after you, and we'll figure out a way to make it happen...
It has numerous other advantages. One is a thinner casing which means more payload. Another is that it does not undergo a shattering 10,000g impact. Other penetrating bombs need special insensitive explosives; Deep Digger can carry a range of warheads, as well as sensors and communications. It can stay in touch with the launch aircraft and report its progress; multiple Deep Diggers could be co-ordinated to detonate simultaneously producing a combined shockwave.
Part of the secret is the rock-breaking projectile, developed like the cannon at ARDEC, the US Army’s Armament Research Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny. David Burns, the Program Manager, describes it as being a special .75 calibre round, a monolithic design which is more robust and performs better than earlier projectiles. In place of the blasting gel used earlier it now employs a solid high explosive called PAX-11, one of Picatinny’s own special recipes.
And, yes, the North Koreans and the Iranians better be thinking about this new technology.