The U.S. government is to move an additional $400 million worth of military equipment to emergency storage in Israel over the next two years.
The equipment, which includes so-called smart bombs, will stand at Israel’s disposal in an emergency.
The U.S. Congress approved the hike last month, which will bring the value of American military equipment stockpiled in Israel to $1.2 billion by 2012. The story was first reported this week by Defense News magazine’s reporter in Israel, Barbara Opall-Rome.
The U.S. stores equipment in Israel by virtue of a special clause in U.S. foreign aid law governing war reserves stockpiles for allies. According to the clause, the equipment can be utilized by American forces throughout the world, and also, in an emergency, by the military in the country where the equipment is stored.
The clause was originally intended to allow South Korea use of American equipment in case of a surprise attack by North Korea.
The type of equipment stockpiled in Israel is determined through dialogue between the Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. Army’s European Command. The issue was raised in discussions last week during the visit by the IDF’s logistics and technology chief, Maj. Gen. Dan Biton, at the Pentagon in Washington.
The agreement between the two armed forces also includes conditions under which the IDF may use the equipment. It is believed that a great deal of the equipment will include precision weapons launched from the air.
IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said this week that in Israel’s future wars, much more precise weaponry will be needed to strike urban targets from the air without injuring civilians.
During Operation Cast Lead, 81 percent of the missiles and bombs launched from the air on and by IDF artillery were of the precision type.
Use of the the American equipment is allowed with permission of the American administration; Israel used such U.S. weaponry during the Second Lebanon War.