SPICE-2000: Israel Blasts Gaza Building With Bunker-Buster Bomb That IAF Once Used In ‘Surgical Strikes’

A video published on social media recently has given rise to speculations that the Israel Air Force (IAF) is using SPICE 2000 bunker-busting bombs to obliterate terror structures occupied and used by Hamas.

The video was first published on December 2 by a Middle East-based military news account on Platform X. Along with the video, the post read: “Watch how Rafael Spice 2000 precision-guided bombs dropped by fighter jets of #Israel Air Force destroyed apartment buildings in use of #Hamas terrorists in the Hamad residential complex of #KhanYounis this afternoon.”

Although the veracity of the video was yet to be established, another video appeared on the platform on December 4, once again showing an IAF jet dropping what seemed to be the SPICE 2000 precision-guided bomb on a house in Gaza.

There has been no official confirmation from the IAF about the use of the bomb at the time of writing this report. However, media reports have noted that the ongoing bombardment is the heaviest since the war started in October. After gaining control of northern Gaza, the Israelis have focused attention on southern Gaza with their tanks rolling inside.

The reports of SPICE 200 bombs being employed by the IAF come a month after The Wall Street Journal reported in November that the US was slated to deliver US$320 million worth of precision bombs to Israel.

The report said Rafael USA, an Israeli Rafael Advanced Defense Systems division, is responsible for producing the Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies.

This gave the impression that Washington wanted to transfer the Spice bombs to Israel to aid its attacks against Gaza. The Spice (Smart, Precise Impact, Cost-Effective) assemblies can essentially be used to turn unguided bombs into precision weapons.

Depending on the warhead’s weight, SPICE is available in three different sizes: 250, 1000, and 2000. When combined with 2,000-pound or 900-kilogram warhead bombs, the SPICE-2000 package creates an incredibly lethal weapon that can breach “hardened” targets like weapons storage facilities.

To put the lethality of these bombs in perspective, “kamikaze” suicide drones carry a warhead weighing 90 kilograms or 198 pounds, whereas the “huge” Hezbollah rocket has a warhead weighing 400 kilograms or 882 pounds. The Spice 2000 bomb is thus likely to cause widespread devastation and leave no survivors on the buildings that it is dropped on.

The latest video comes against the backdrop of a clear UN statement that it was not possible to create any safe space in the narrow Gaza Strip amid the aerial bombardment that refuses to stop, despite several calls from worldwide.

What Is The Spice 2000 Bomb?

Spice bombs are part of a series of guided weapons intended to improve unguided bomb accuracy and convert them into GPS-guided weapons.

For accurate final targeting, these bombs employ sophisticated guidance kits that combine electro-optical seekers and INS/GPS (Inertial Navigation System/Global Positioning System) guidance. With this technology, they can hit their targets with far more accuracy and effectiveness.

Rafael says, “The highly sophisticated and combat-proven SPICE Guidance Kits address the needs of today’s increasingly complex battlefields. They convert 1000 lb and 2000 lb class general purpose and penetration warheads into precision stand-off strike weapons that deliver simultaneous attacks with pinpoint accuracy in a GPS-denied environment.”

The bombs are known to have penetrated areas with GPS jamming. They have autonomous stand-off capability, high lethality, and low collateral damage due to pinpoint accuracy. Moreover, they can be used in day, night, and inclement weather, otherwise limiting combat operations.

It is a fully autonomous “fire and forget” bomb. This is how it works: before releasing the weapon outside the danger zone, the pilot assigns a mission to each one. Based on its navigation system, the system executes a midcourse trajectory.

Spice (bomb) - Wikipedia
Spice (bomb) – Wikipedia

Then, the weapon begins its target acquisition based on the scene-matching algorithm as it gets closer to the target. Once the scene-matching process is completed successfully, SPICE finds the target on its own at the exact impact angle and azimuth that have been predetermined.

These same bombs were deployed on February 26, 2019, during the Indian Air Force’s Balakot airstrikes, which were a reaction to the Pulwama terror strike on Indian security forces. They targeted the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist base in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 

Indian Air Force pilots dropped five Spice 2000 bombs, and at least four of them entered the building through the rooftops while the terrorists were asleep. The assaults took place at three in the morning, and the Indian Air Force planes returned to their bases shortly after delivering bombs on their targets. 

Israel’s ally, the United States, has ruled out withholding arms that are being used against Hamas. The Biden administration has instead urged its Israeli counterpart to minimize civilian casualties, which was also used as a rationale for sending precision-guided Spice bombs to Israel.

However, according to military watchers keenly following the carnage, the Spice 2000 is only set to wreak havoc