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Consumer Reports

Pentagon to sell Israel precision strike hardware | At a time when Boeing is racing to fill a back order for Joint Direct Attack Munition bombs for the U.S. military, the Pentagon announced Thursday it is preparing to sell Israel 1,000 JDAM tail kits to be attached to Israel's arsenal of "dumb" bombs, making them into precision strike weapons.

The deal for 1,000 Joint Direct Attack Munition tail kits and associated equipment could be worth up to $27 million to Boeing.

Israel bought its first 700 JDAMs in 1999 so it will not be a new capability for the country. It would, however, be a dramatic increase in the number of JDAMs it has.

The Pentagon contracted for more than 12,000 JDAMs in April 2001, a $260 million deal for manufacturer Boeing. A Boeing plant in St. Louis is currently running 24-hour shifts in order to meet the military demand for the relatively low cost weapon. At $25,000 per tail kit, it is a far cheaper GPS guided bomb than the Tomahawk cruise missile.

JDAM satellite guidance kits can be fit onto the back of a 2,000 or 1,000 lb bomb, giving formerly dumb bombs almost pinpoint accuracy.

Also Thursday, the Pentagon announced it would be upgrading 30 of the United Area Emirates's AH-64A Apache helicopters into "D" or Longbow configuration, a significant advance over the older version. The deal is worth $1.5 billion to Boeing and Lockheed Martin, the major contractors on the work. The deal would also include Hellfire "tank killing" missiles, night vision equipment, repairs and training.

The UAE has been a critical ally, both in the 1991 war with Iraq and the current war in Afghanistan, according to Pentagon sources.

Likewise, the Pentagon wants to sell two podded aircraft reconnaissance systems to Oman, another key Persian Gulf ally, in a deal that would cost Oman $49 million.

"Oman's active participation during the Gulf crisis and their willingness to allow access to port facilities and air bases makes them vital to any coalition success in the region," the Pentagon stated in an announcement Thursday.

Also Thursday, the Pentagon announced a plan to sell Singapore precision munitions and services for its fleet of F-16s, a deal worth $120 million.

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