An Israeli newspaper reported on Monday that Israel intends to purchase thousands of Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) missiles from the United States; the deal’s cost is estimated to be $100 million.The source added that Israel received “emergency shipments” from the United States during its war with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah party this past summer.
The U.S sent aerial shipments of JDAM missiles to Israel and caused an international uproar after one of the planes flying with the missiles for Israel was routed through Glasgow's Prestwick Airport, in the United Kingdom, and did not fly according to safety and security procedures established by the British Civil Aviation Authority.
The newspaper also reported that negotiations were conducted between the Israeli Air Force and Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI) concerning the purchase of LORA ground-to-ground ballistic tactical missiles.
The LORA missile, according to the report, can eliminate targets without risking expensive fighter jets. It can also carry a 400 kilogram highly explosive warhead, “and can penetrate enemy territory more than 1,000 kilometers away”.
The newspaper also reported that the LORA missile was displayed by the Israeli Air Force exhibition in 2006 at the Eurosatory defense exhibition in Paris.
The missile was developed under direct orders of the former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and was the idea of former Knesset Foreign Affairs Committee head Yuval Steinitz.
The missile is constructed from a low cost guidance kit which is produced by the Boeing Corporation; the JDAM missile can “convert free-fall bombs into guided smart missiles."
The JDAM-equipped bombs, according to the Isreali media, receive data about the target while the missile is still attached to the warplane’s computer. After the missile is fired, a satellite will the guide the missile until it hits its target.
The missile is accurate regardless of weather conditions day or night; this is considered a significant improvement over the laser-guided bombs that the Israeli air force is currently using.
Senior Israeli sources reported that the funds for the new missile deal will come from the Israeli Air Force procurement fund.
The newspaper also reported that the deal will not require Knesset approval because it is part of a previously approved option to purchase the new system.