WASHINGTON (CBS DC) – The Pentagon notified Congress it wants to sell Israel nearly 7,000 Boeing-made bomb kits which include the most precise weapons in the U.S. arsenal.
In a statement made on Monday and obtained by Bloomberg News, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of its intention to make the estimated $647 million deal with Israel. The bombs are designed to “defeat an enemy’s most critical and hardened targets,” such as protected weapons storage sites, and penetrate as much as six feet of reinforced concrete, according to a U.S. Air Force fact sheet.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which oversees foreign arms sales, said Israel had requested to buy the 6,900 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits and thousands of other bombs.
“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. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives,” the statement reads.
U.S. lawmakers have 30 days to block the sale, although such an action is rare since weapons sales are usually carefully vetted before Congress is formally notified.
Jeff White, a military analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, tells Bloomberg News that Israel needs to resupply itself for the bombs dropped during its conflict with Hamas last month.
“Hamas and the other groups had lots of underground targets that were attacked,” White explained to Bloomberg News. The additional weapons “could be an effort to give the Israeli Air Force a capability for more extended or more extensive air campaigns than before.”
White tells Bloomberg that the bombs, which weigh up to 250 pounds and are small in diameter, could be used “in built-up areas like Gaza and parts of southern Lebanon where Israel’s enemies mix their forces in with the civilian population,”
Boeing builds the JDAM kits. Other contractors include Alliant Techsystems, Lockheed Martin Corp, General Dynamics Corp, and Raytheon.