(Bloomberg) -- Boeing Co. is speeding delivery to Israel of as many as 1,800 kits that convert unguided bombs into precision munitions, according to congressional aides and a US official.
The expedited deliveries of Joint Direct Attack Munition, or JDAM, kits from Boeing to the Israeli government stem from a 2021 Direct Commercial Sale valued at about $735 million. The sale provided for deliveries over several years, but that timetable has been accelerated since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel. The kits are for bombs of 500 pounds (227 kilograms) and heavier.
A US official confirmed the transfer, adding that the Pentagon provided guidance but didn’t ship the kits on US military aircraft because it’s part of a direct sale. Senators may ask Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin for details of all munitions transfers to Israel — including the JDAM kits and 155mm artillery shells — in a classified briefing later Wednesday. Officials discussed the deliveries on condition of anonymity because they didn’t involve official Defense Department action.
The Israeli Air Force said in in an Oct. 12 posting on the social media site X that it had dropped 6,000 bombs against Hamas targets in the first five days of the conflict but didn’t specify the type.
The 2021 sale was controversial when Congress was notified of it by the Biden administration. Senator Bernie Sanders and some House members moved to block the proposed sale in protest over Israeli attacks in Gaza at the time, but it wasn’t voted on, according to the Congressional Research Service.
A Boeing spokesperson declined to comment. Bloomberg News disclosed last week that Boeing expedited the shipment on an Israeli aircraft of 1,000 250-pound Small Diameter Bombs that were also part of the May 2021 sale.
Earlier: Boeing Sped 1,000 Smart Bombs to Israel After Hamas Attacks
JDAM kits can convert unguided 500-, 1,000- and 2,00-pound bombs into ordnance launched from 15 miles (24 kilometers) and capable of hitting targets within 16 feet (5 meters) to 96 feet of their intended aimpoints depending on the type of navigation used, according to a US Air Force fact sheet.
The new delivery is separate from about 12,000 JDAM kits sold to Israel in 2012 and 2015 Foreign Military Sales executed by the US government.
The JDAM can be dropped from a variety of aircraft, ranging from B-2 and B-1B bombers to F-15E, F-16, F-22 and F-35A fighters, according to the Air and Space Forces Association’s annual air power almanac.
(Adds the variety of planes that can drop the JDAM in final paragraph. A previous version of this story had an incorrect name for the bomb kits.)
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