An aviation ordinanceman gets ready to load a couple of GBU-24 2000 pound "Bunker Buster" bombs onto aircraft on the flight deck of the USS Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier in the northern Gulf.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The massive US arms sale to Israel approved the State Department approved this week is not tied to the emerging deal with Iran over its nuclear program, according to a senior Israeli security source.
The source on Thursday described the $1.87 billion sales agreement, which includes large numbers of JDAM precision-guided munitions, hellfire missiles for combat helicopters, and bunker buster bombs, as “part of a multiyear plan, that was updated after Operation Protective Edge [in the Gaza Strip last year].”
The package is at the stage of requiring “routine approval in Congress after Pentagon approval,” he said.
It has “no link with the [P5+1 powers’] deal with Iran,” and no connection to the recent large US weapons sales to Gulf states, the source continued.
“This deal is another testimony to the deep and close ties between the [defense establishments] of the United States and Israel. These are very high quality munitions, which include bunker busters and high precision munition,” he said.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency released a statement on Tuesday, saying the “State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Israel for Joint Direct Attack Munition Tail Kits, munitions, and associated equipment, parts and logistical support for an estimated cost of $1.879b. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 18, 2015.”
Israel “requested a possible sale of 14,500 KMU-556C/B Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) tail kits,” the statement added, going on to detail types of munitions, which include laser-guided bombs, and munition that can strike targets using GPS guidance systems.
“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US 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 Pentagon statement said.
“The proposed sale of this equipment will provide Israel the ability to support its self-defense needs. These munitions will enable Israel to maintain operational capability of its existing systems and will enhance Israel’s interoperability with the United States. Israel, which already has these munitions in its inventory, will have no difficulty absorbing the additional munitions into its armed forces,” it added.
“The proposed sale of these munitions will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractors will be the Boeing Company in St. Charles, Missouri; Lockheed-Martin Company in Archbald, Pennsylvania; General Dynamics in Garland, Texas; Elwood National Forge Co. in Irvine, Pennsylvania; and Raytheon Missile Systems in Tucson, Arizona,” the Defense