Deal awaiting Congressional approval; Arms sales worth close to $2 billion
The US State Department approved the arms sale of missiles and bombs to the state of Israel on Wednesday. The large agreement and deal is worth over $1.897 billion and is pending approval from Congress.
The deal comes just a month following the approval for $474 million dollars for Israel’s anti-missile systems, like Iron Dome, by the US House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, a decision made following Operation Protective Edge.
The arms deal will include a reported 3,000 Hellfire missiles for Israel’s Air Force’s helicopters, 750 bunker busters, 25 medium-range air-to-air missiles and 4,100 glide bombs. The weapons will increase precision munitions cache as well as include laser-guided missiles and bombs with GPS systems with 14,500 missile guidance systems.
The air-to-air and air-to-surface will overall increase Israel’s defense needs in the region.
A statement from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency released a statement on the deal, “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,” the statement read. 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.”
Several reports claim the arms sale comes as assistance to Israel given increased concern over military growth in Iran as well as in connection to Iran’s nuclear program. A source from Israel’s Defense Ministry denied the reports in Israeli radio Tuesday evening.