(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel is seeking clarifications from the United States to ensure bunker buster
bombs it recently purchased are not carrying defective fuses that could cause
their premature detonation.
Last week the US settled a lawsuit against a
defense contractor for allegedly supplying it with faulty fuses.
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laser-guided bomb, GBU-28, weighs about 2.5 tons and is reportedly capable of
penetrating 30 meters of earth or alternatively 6 meters of concrete.
bomb was initially developed in the 1990s to penetrate hardened Iraqi command
centers located underground.
Israel ordered its first batch of the GBU-28
from the US in 2005 and reportedly received them a year later. In 2007 it asked
the Pentagon for another batch of bombs but the delivery was delayed due to
concern in Washington that Israel planned to use the bunker buster bomb to
attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, some of which are located in fortified
In September, Newsweek reported the Obama administration had
recently decided to authorize the delivery of 55 GBU-28 bombs as part of an aid
package aimed at improving ties with Jerusalem.
There are now concerns in
Israel that some of the bombs supplied to Israel over the years could have been
installed with defective fuses.
On Friday, the US Justice Department
announced it had reached a settlement with aerospace manufacturer Kaman Corp.,
which allegedly substituted a fuse in four lots of fuses made for the bombs.
Under the settlement, Kaman Corp. will pay the government $4.75
The US government alleged in its lawsuit against the company
that the installation of defective fuses could lead to the premature detonation
of the bomb and cause accidental misfires.
In September 2010, the US
Defense Department announced it had awarded Kaman Precision Products, a
subsidiary of Kaman Corp, a $35m. contract to manufacture fuses for four foreign
countries. One of those countries was likely Israel. South Korea is also in
possession of the GBU-28.
Israel first filed a request to purchase the
GBU-28 in the 1990s but only received Pentagon approval for the sale in 2005 in
a deal estimated at about $30m.
According to Jane’s – a weapons reference
organization – it received 100 units of the bomb in 2006, during the Second
Lebanon War and as part of a US weapons shipment to help Israel destroy hardened