A bipartisan bill set to be introduced into the House on Friday would make the Pentagon consider selling bunker-busting munitions to Israel. The legislation is the latest bill introduced by Congress to uphold Israel’s military superiority in the Middle East, known as the Qualitative Military Edge (QME).
The legislation is a bipartisan effort and is expected to be introduced by Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Rep. Brian Mast (D-FL). Gottheimer said the bill would “help shore-up Israel’s QME in the region and secure both of our countries from the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.”
The idea of selling Israel bunker-busters is to provide Israel with munitions that can take out underground nuclear facilities in Iran. The bill would require the Pentagon to consult with Israel and report to Congress on Israel’s “capability to deter a full range of threats, including whether transferring ‘bunker-buster’ munitions capable of taking out Iran’s underground nuclear infrastructure would advance both countries’ security.”
US law currently bans the sale of bunker-busters, something the bill is meant to reverse. According to The Times of Israel, Israel does not have military aircraft capable of carrying the bunker-busters, known as Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP). The F-15 is Israel’s primary bomber and can only carry bombs half the weight of the MOPs.
If the US tried to sell bombers capable of carrying MOPs to Israel, it could violate the New START treaty, the last nuclear arms agreement between the US and Russia that limits nuclear warheads, missiles, and bombers. The New START will expire in February 2021 if Washington and Moscow do not reach an agreement on extending it.