The US State Department has given the green light to a plan to supply Israel with SPICE-guided bombs valued at $320 million, pending approval from Congress. This decision was recently disclosed in a letter from the US State Department to Congress, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
The letter explained that the Biden administration has permitted Rafael USA, a defense enterprise, to modify its technical assistance agreement with its parent company, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems in Israel. This change will enable them to transfer an undisclosed quantity of SPICE bombs to the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
Rafael USA is also responsible for providing the Israeli military with technical documentation, assembly support, and testing for these munitions.
The US Congress has a 30-day window to decide whether to block this arrangement. If there is no opposition from Congress during this period, the deal will proceed to President Joe Biden for final approval.
Notably, neither the US State Department the Department of Defense nor Israeli officials have issued any comments on this development. It’s worth mentioning that in 2020, the US government approved the transfer of SPICE bombs worth $402 million to Israel.
SPICE is a family of guided bombs developed by Israel, serving as a replacement for the American JDAM bombs. These weapons incorporate a bomb-mounted navigation device cluster similar to JDAM but are equipped with both a satellite navigation system and an optical-electronic probe. Pilots have the capability to guide the bombs to their targets manually, or issue commands to destroy them, providing an alternative to relying solely on satellite navigation systems like JDAM.
The United States has a strong alliance with Israel. However, the Biden administration emphasizes that Israeli authorities make decisions regarding military operations, and Washington has consistently called for the protection of civilians in the region.
The conflict between Hamas and Israel has been ongoing for 32 days as of November 7, resulting in more than 11,000 casualties and over 31,000 injuries on both sides.