Israel Asked U.S. to Increase Weapons Supply, Haaretz Learns

Air force seeking more JDAM bombs, and larger emergency stores held by American army.

Amos Harel
Amos Harel
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Amos Harel
Amos Harel

Israel recently approached the United States with new requests for security-related purchases, Haaretz has learned. The requests included Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM ) bombs for the Israel Air Force, as well as a significant expansion of the emergency stores held by the U.S. army in Israel.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak and U.S. President Barack Obama at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, July 2008Credit: Daniel Bar-On / Jini

The Israeli requests were brought up during recent visits to Washington by Defense Minister Ehud Barak and director-general of the Defense Ministry, Udi Shani, and in conversations with senior administration and Congress officials.

The priority list reflects the security threats the defense establishment believes Israel will face in the next few years, i.e. the eventuality of a prolonged war, which would necessitate using the IAF widely to attack many targets, along with ensuring enough spare parts and supplies.

Israel also requested JDAM bombs, seeking to significantly increase the number of such munitions already in its arsenal. The JDAM bombs have been used increasingly in recent operations, including in the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008.

Israel is also seeking to increase the amount of gear held by the American army in their emergency stores in Israel by 50% - from $800 million to $1.2 billion. The Obama administration placed the stores in Israel in December, as part of a number of steps to improve U.S. assistance to Israeli security. To date, $600 million worth of American emergency equipment has been placed in Israel.

The American stores hold rockets, bombs, aircraft ammunition and armored vehicles, along with other weapons. The gear fully matches equipment already used by the Israel Defense Forces and is cataloged upon arrival to ensure quick and easy access at a time of need, pending permission from the United States. The American move has a dual purpose: bringing military equipment closer to areas in which Americans might need to fight, and assisting the U.S. ally should the need arise.

Senior military sources told Haaretz that the IDF attaches great importance to the stores; in the event of an extensive conflict, considerable time will pass before an airlift of ammunition and spare parts - similar to the one operated during the 1973 Arab-Israeli war - gets under way.

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