A U.S. Air Force F-16 drops a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) in 2009. Israel wants to buy 6,900 GPS-guided bombs, including JDAMs, as part of a deal with the U.S. (U.S. Air Force)
Israel wants to buy thousands GPS-guided weapons from the United States at a time when tensions with Middle East rival Iran are on the rise.
The Pentagon notified Congress on Dec. 10 of the potential $647 million sale, which includes a broad array of bombs ranging from 250 pounds to 2,000 pounds.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability,” said a statement from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the arm of the Pentagon that oversees foreign weapon and equipment sales. “This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.
“The proposed sale of munitions will enable Israel to maintain operational capability of its existing systems,” the statement said. “Israel, which already has these munitions in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing these additional munitions into its armed forces.”
Specifically, Israel wants to buy 6,900 bombs and GPS-guided tail kits, called Joint Direct Attack Munitions, or JDAMs, which are built by Boeing. Also included in the sale are 3,450 Small Diameter Bombs, also made by Boeing.
Other contractors that stand to benefit from the sale are KDI Precision Products, ATK, Kaman Dayron, Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control, General Dynamics, Elwood National Forge Co. and Raytheon Missile Systems.
The notification of the sale comes at a time when tensions in the Middle East are extremely high over Iran’s nuclear program. Israel and the United States charge Iran is seeking to build nuclear weapons.
The announcement of the planned sale also comes on the heels of Israel’s 8-day surgical standoff campaign in Gaza, which ended Nov. 21. The Israel Air Force waged nearly 1,500 attacks, all of them with precision weaponry.