U.S. Sells Israel Precision Munitions, Bombs in $1.8 Billion Deal

Arms, intended for Israel Air Force, include 50 bunker busting bombs; Pentagon: Deal 'would support Israel’s defense capabilities.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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JDAMs prior to being loaded for operations over Iraq, 2003.
JDAMs prior to being loaded for operations over Iraq, 2003.Credit: U.S. Navy
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The U.S. Defense Department approved a deal selling Israel $1.8 billion worth of precision guided munitions and bombs, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

The deal includes 14,500 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM), an arms system attached to bombs that enables precision targeting with GPS, intended for Air Force fighter jets.

In addition, the U.S. will sell Israel 8,000 bombs (of the types MK-82 and MK-83) suitable for JDAM. The Air Force will also receive 50 bunker busting bombs, effective up to six meters, as well as over 4,000 small bombs, weighing 110-kilogram each.

The air force will also receive 3,000 Hellfire missiles, which are fired from Apache helicopters. These missiles were part of the shipment that was suspended during last summer’s war in Gaza. According to the Wall Street Journal, at the time of Operation Defensive Edge the White House wanted every Israeli request for American weapons passed to it for its approval because of the damage done to Palestinian civilians during the fighting. A few weeks later, a source in Israel’s defense establishment said he was optimistic that the weapons would be delivered and that delivery would take place soon.

The large scale of the deal suggests that it is meant to replenish IAF munitions after the summer's Gaza war.

Only six months ago it was reported that Israel would be receiving 3,000 JDAM kits for combat aircraft, at a cost of $82 million. This shipment, which was funded by the U.S. military aid, is to be delivered by November 2016.

The Pentagon said the deal was a manifestation of the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security and that the weapons would support Israel’s defense capabilities. “These munitions will enable Israel to maintain operational capability of its existing systems and will enhance Israel’s interoperability with the United States,” the statement said.

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