Procurement: October 1, 2004

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In a $319 million deal, Israel is buying some 5,000 smart bombs from the United States. Included in the sale are 500 penetrating bunker buster bombs. These could be used against Iran's underground nuclear facilities, or the large number of underground facilities Syria has built over the years. The 500 BLU-109 bunker busters can penetrate 16 feet of concrete. The deal also includes 2,500 2,000 pound bombs, a thousand 1,000 pound bombs and 500 500 pound bombs. Meanwhile, the American plant that produces the these bombs recently halted production. It seems that high production of bombs have exposed workers to unusually high amounts of gases given off by TNT (the explosive used in most bombs.) This in turn caused many workers to develop anemia. This is a condition that is known to be caused by too much exposure to TNT fumes, but the bomb plant has not seen a case of this anemia in over 60 years. The plant will remain closed until the source of the anemia can be found. This probably wont have an effect on the Israeli bomb order, which is not expected to be delivered until next year. In any event, Israel can take delivery of the smart bomb guidance kits and attach them to dumb bombs they already have. The only bombs the Israelis don't already have are the bunker busters, and those could be taken out of current U.S. Air Force inventories. Then again, maybe not, as the American supply of bunker busters is earmarked for use against North Korea if there should be a flare up in that part of the world.  Finally, Israel is not actually paying for the bombs, the money comes from the several billion dollars a year in economic and military aid the United States gives to Israel. 

 


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