The Israel Air Force has significantly boosted its precisionstrike capabilities
with the recent arrival of the first batch of GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB)
from the United States.
The 250-lb. (113.6-kg.) bomb was developed by
Boeing Company as a low-cost weapon capable of high-precision and low-collateral
damage strikes. Israel received approval from Congress in late 2008 to buy 1,000
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Israel is the first
country outside of the United States to receive the weapon.
The IAF has
named the new bomb “Sharp Hail.” The total cost of the deal was $77
The GPS-guided SDB is said to be one of the most accurate bombs
in the world. It has the same penetration capabilities as a normal 900-kg. bomb,
although it has only 22.7 kg. of explosives. At just 1.75 meters long,
its small size increases the number of bombs an aircraft can carry and the
number of targets it can attack in a sortie.
Tests conducted in the US
have proven that the bomb can penetrate at least 90 cm. of
The GBU-39 can be used in adverse weather and
has a standoff range of more than 110 km. due to its pop-out wings.
enables aircraft to attack more targets per sortie, since each weapon’s station
can carry four bombs.
The first planes to have the GBU-39 are the
IAF’s F- 15Is – which can carry around 20 of the bombs on its wings and
fuselage, turning the aircraft into what defense officials termed a “killing
The new weaponry is slated to become operational within the IAF
in the future and it is possible that the air force will decide, at a later
stage, to upgrade its fleet of F-16Is so they too can carry the
Israel will receive its first shipment of Laser Joint Direct
Attack Munition (JDAM) kits, which can be installed on existing bombs to
increase their ability to hit moving targets.
The JDAM is a low-cost
guidance kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurately
guided “smart” weapons. The JDAM kit consists of a tail section that contains a
Global Positioning System (GPS) and body improvements for additional stability
The newer version of the JDAM adds a laser seeker to the nose
of a JDAM-equipped bomb, which improves its ability to hit moving targets with