Giving B-52 Bombers To Israel Would Be More Trouble Than Its Worth

Robert Farley

Key Point: If B-52s struck Iran, who could pretend that Israel alone was responsible?

In April 2014, retired Air Force lieutenant general David Deptula and Michael Makovsky of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal arguing that the United States should turn over a dozen surplus B-52 heavy bombers to Israel.

Deptula and Makovsky said that the eight-engine B-52s should come with a consignment of America’s special Massive Ordnance Penetrators—gigantic bombs tailored for smashing buried facilities. Specifically, nuclear facilities.

“B-52s for Israel,” as we’ve dubbed it, is a silly little proposal with approximately zero chance of actually being implemented. And it’s possible Deptula and Makovsky don’t even mean for anyone to take its details seriously.

Their bomber idea could be part of a media game of sorts, one that certain political constituencies are playing in order to broadly influence policy, rather than comprise policy.

But just for fun, let’s consider “B-52s for Israel” as a sober proposal.

Bombers versus Iran:

MOP is a precision-guided gravity bomb. So a B-52 cannot deploy it from standoff range. The bomber has to get close to the target.

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