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Israel To Request America’s New GBU-72 Bunker Buster Bomb

עודכן: 12 בנוב׳ 2021

Israeli planners have shared operational lessons from their recent heavy use of the GBU-28 bomb with the US Air Force in order to help develop operational profiles for the GBU-72.

By Arie Egozi on October 22, 2021 at 10:06 AM

GBU-17, mounted on the bottom of a USAF F-15, is shown ahead of a test flight. (US Air Force)

TEL AVIV: In the coming months, Israel plans to ask the US to sell its new 5,000 pound GBU-72 bomb to the Israeli Defense Forces, sources here say, with the goal of utilizing it against Hamas’ subterranean bases.

Already, Israeli planners have shared operational lessons from their use of the GBU-28 bomb with the US Air Force in order to help develop operational profiles for the GBU-72. In turn, Israeli military officials hope Washington will OK the eventual sale of the GBU-72 once it enters full use in for the US Air Force.

During “Guardian of the Walls” military operation in Gaza, Israeli made significant use of the GBU-28, an older 5,000 pound “bunker buster” weapon,” in order to target Hamas’ so called “Metro City” tunnel network.

Israeli sources told BD that the use of these bombs in a densely populated area like Gaza required very accurate planning in order not to the hit the civil population.

Data about these special attack profiles has been transferred to the US Air Force, which just last week announced the successful completion of a series of tests for the GBU-72, proving the weapon can be successfully released from an F-15 fighter. The weapons test included an “arena test,” which a warhead was detonated while surrounded by sensor to determine the full impact and lethality.

The GBU-72 was developed to “overcome hardened, deeply buried target challenges and designed for both fighter and bomber aircraft,” per the USAF announcement. Given the liberal use of underground tunnels by Hamas, it’s easy to see why Israel would be interested in the GBU-72s improved capability over the older GBU-28 design. And as Israel already operates the F-15 — and is seeking to add to its fleet — integration should be simple.

Aside from its interest in the new bunker-busting weapon, Israel’s Air Force has had a busy week during Blue Flag, an exercise that kicked off Oct. 17 and will run through Oct. 28. In addition to the IDF and USAF, air forces from Germany, Italy, Britain, France, India and Greece are taking part, with planned appearances from the Lockheed Martin made F-35, Boeing F-15, Eurofighter Typhoon, Dassault Rafale and Mirage 2000 jets.

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