Special delivery please: Israel requests ‘Iran Busters’

A story that is liable to be twisted all around by the left in the press, but in reality is just the two allies conducting previous business.

Israel's aid from the US is not no strings attached. Much of it is contingent on being spent on joint military research or hardware from US companies, this directs aid right back into both economies. Some time ago, Israel requested a purchase of advanced guided bombs from the US, including a number of GBU-28's. The deal was initiated in Sept 2004, and subsequently approved by the US Congress. It should be noted that Israel can produce such advanced bombs and guidance systems and this request was a supplement.

Jewish Virtual Library: September 21-22, 2004 (Haaretz / JPOST)

The United States will sell Israel nearly 5,000 smart bombs in one of the largest weapons deals between the allies in years. The deal is valued at $319 million and was revealed in a Pentagon report made to the U.S. Congress a few weeks ago. Funding for the sale will come from U.S. military aid to Israel.

Among the bombs the air force will get are 500 one-ton bunker busters that can penetrate two-meter-thick cement walls; 2,500 regular one-ton bombs; 1,000 half-ton bombs; and 500 quarter-ton bombs. The bombs Israel is acquiring include airborne versions, guidance units, training bombs and detonators. They are guided by an existing Israeli satellite used by the military.

The sale will augment existing Israeli supplies of smart bombs. The Pentagon told Congress that the bombs are meant to maintain Israel's qualitative advantage, and advance U.S. strategic and tactical interests. [...]

'Iran Busters' 

The GBU-28 'Bunker Busters' first came into the spotlight in the 1991 Gulf War where two of them were initially dropped, since then they've been an effective part of the US roster. More were used in the spectacular first night of Shock & Awe during the liberation of Iraq. The sale raised comments from our little friends in Iran who viewed them as 'Iran Busters' (one can only wish).

NewsMax Wires – Thursday, Sept. 23, 2004

Iran said it will react "most severely" to any Israeli action against its nuclear facilities, issuing the warning after Israel said the United States was selling it 500 bunker buster bombs. [...]

"But be sure, any action by Israel certainly will be reacted by us, most severely," Kharrazi said after he met British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly's ministerial meeting.

The story originating in the NY Times is regarding Israels request for an expedited delivery of a portion of the order, understandable with the ordnance use the past 10 days. That request has been met, and the GBUs, as well as guidance add ons are on the way..

YNET: New York Times reports that Israel asked US delivers shipment of smart bombs under deal signed last year; Washington believes Israel has long list of targets in Lebanon requiring precision-guided missiles – Yitzhak Benhorin, Washington.

Washington – Smart bombs on the way: The Bush administration has complied with Israel's request for an expedited delivery of satellite and laser-guided bombs, the New York Times reported Saturday. [...]

Estimates are that Israel needs a large number of precision-guided bombs to bombard Hizbullah bunkers with little collateral damage.

Although the Pentagon refused to give details of the delivery, the newspaper said last year's agreement included 100 precision-guided bombs weighing two and a half tons each. The bombs are used to destroy underground concrete bunkers. Israel is eligible to purchase "bunker buster" bombs capable of penetrating underground Hizbullah bunkers. The bombs can be fitted on F-15 jets.

Sounds pretty reasonable, many thanks to the US & Congress for their previous foresight and clarity in these matters.

Here's a look at the larger end of any potential bombs, the big boy of the GBU family number 28. A photo courtesy of the USAF of an F15-E Strike Eagle deploying a GBU-28. Israel flies the F-15I Thunder, which is a strike eagle mounted with Israeli avionics like helmet mounted tracking sights. Also it should be stressed this is a conventional bomb, TNT.

F15 Strike Eagle and GBU-28 (Photo: USAF)
HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — An F-15E Strike Eagle deployed from the 492nd Fighter Squadron, Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England, releases a GBU-28 "Bunker Buster" laser-guided bomb. The 492nd deployed here for the Air-to-Ground Weapons System Evaluation Program mission commonly known as Combat Hammer. The GBU-28 was designed and first used during the Persian Gulf War in 1991 to destroy hardened targets such as bunkers and underground command centers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael)

GBU-28 at howstuffworks.com

Conventional Bunker Busters – During the 1991 Gulf war, allied forces knew of several underground military bunkers in Iraq that were so well reinforced and so deeply buried that they were out of reach of existing munitions. The U.S. Air Force started an intense research and development process to create a new bunker-busting bomb to reach and destroy these bunkers. In just a few weeks, a prototype was created. This new bomb had the following features:

  • Its casing consists of an approximately 16-foot (5-meter) section of artillery barrel that is 14.5 inches (37 cm) in diameter. Artillery barrels are made of extremely strong hardened steel so that they can withstand the repeated blasts of artillery shells when they are fired.
  • Inside this steel casing is nearly 650 pounds (295 kg) of tritonal explosive. Tritonal is a mixture of TNT (80 percent) and aluminum powder (20 percent). The aluminum improves the brisance of the TNT — the speed at which the explosive develops its maximum pressure. The addition of aluminum makes tritonal about 18 percent more powerful than TNT alone.
  • Attached to the front of the barrel is a laser-guidance assembly. Either a spotter on the ground or in the bomber illuminates the target with a laser, and the bomb homes in on the illuminated spot. The guidance assembly steers the bomb with fins that are part of the assembly.
  • Attached to the end of the barrel are stationary fins that provide stability during flight

UPDATE: Blogging about the predictable left craze;

LGF links to the Huffington Post for pages worth of Israel / US bashing
Michelle Malkin on the NY Times & the leakers

LINKS: updates On Israel, and Jewish bloggers covering the situation, or at the truth Laid Bear mid east crisis page highlighting both sides of the conflict.