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U.S. to Sell Smart Bombs, Armored Vehicles To Israel

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.

The U.S. government has also approved the supply of wheeled armored Dingo vehicles to Israel. A communique from the Pentagon to Congress, sent on September 7, 2004, explained that Israel needed the vehicles "for use in urban areas." The IDF wants the Dingos because they are reputed to be more maneuverable than the tracked armored vehicles currently in use.

Israel had requested the purchase of 103 armored Dingo vehicles, along with spare parts and technical support from the manufacturer, in a deal that could amount to as much as $99 million, if all options materialize. The purchase, which has not yet been finalized, according to the Pentagon, will be financed with U.S. military aid.

HaaretzJerusalem Post