1000 American MK-82 Heading to Israel: U.S. Increasing Support for Israeli and Turkish Air Fleets

Current and former U.S officials interviewed by the Wall Street Journal have reported that approximately 1,000 MK-82 227 kilogram unguided gravity bombs are being reviewed for delivery to Israel, among a range of other military equipment intended to further reinforce the Middle Eastern state. The Israel Defence Force has ongoing operations against Palestinian militia forces in the Gaza Strip and against the Lebanese political party and militia group Hezbollah. The Israeli Air Force has also launched multiple air strikes against neighbouring Syria, which escalated considerably since hostilities in Gaza broke out in October. An assessment drafted by the U.S. Embassy in Israel stated that the country has requested an accelerated transfer to defend against “continued and emerging regional threats,” with American assessments highlighting that Israeli military operations were intended “to prevent gross violations of human rights,” and that the country was “a transparent partner” where concerns over possible misuse of American equipment were raised. 

In late 2023 American officials reported that the United States had supplied Israel with 100 BLU-109 bunker buster bombs, with 15,000 bombs shipped to the country in the two months following the outbreak of hostilities in early October.  Supplies of very large quantities of ordinance for use in Israeli operations has raised significant controversies particularly outside the Western world, with Israeli forces having been widely accused war crimes, and at times even genocide, against the Palestinian population by international observers. Alongside Israel, the United States has also expedited arms transfers to its second major regional defence partner Turkey, a NATO member, with the Joe Biden administration seeking to accelerate a $20 billion transfer of F-16 fighters, avionics systems and air launched weapons. In parallel to the Israeli Air force, the Turkish Air Force has also continued to launch strikes on Syrian targets, and has in the past also attack Hezbollah targets on multiple occasions. Turkey has also been offered a resumption of its partnership in the F-35 program, and is the only regional state other than Israel to have been permitted to acquire the fifth generation fighters, which are currently providing important contributions to the Israeli war effort. In parallel to arming Israel directly, and expanding the American military presence in the Middle East, bolstering Turkish military power has provided the United States with a key means of countering Israel’s primary adversaries.