This sort of kit is designed to attach to a 500-pound MK82 warhead, a bomb manufactured in Garland, Tex., at a General Dynamics facility. There, about 300 pounds of blank steel is heated up and then forged into hollow shells. Those shells then travel 150 miles north to an Army munitions plant in McAlester, Okla., a 45,000-acre compound where the shells are hung, nose down. Next, they’re filled with 200 pounds of warm explosive, sometimes Tritonal but more often something called Composition H6, a compound whose main ingredient is RDX, the explosive used in bombs the Allies dropped on the Germans. The explosives cool and harden, base plates are attached and the steel shells become bombs, ordnance you can drop out of the sky and, if you drop enough of them, have some modest confidence that you’ll hit your target. Or you can attach them to a guidance system made by one of the private companies that build modification kits for dumb bombs. The scrap Motaparthy found had an assembly code unique to one American manufacturer: Raytheon, which makes Paveway II guidance kits at its facility in Tucson, Arizona.
In early October this year, news began to leak out about the disappearance of a prominent Saudi dissident. Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist who often criticized the Saudi regime in The Washington Post, had visited the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to collect paperwork and never emerged. Once inside, he had been brutally murdered and dismembered by a team of Saudi hit men. American intelligence implicated the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in ordering the assassination, and in the weeks since the news broke, as increasingly gruesome details trickled out, this one death has done what thousands in Yemen could not: draw America’s attention to the strange, cozy relationship between the United States and the Saudi monarchy.
On Nov. 28, the Senate voted on a resolution to open debate about ending the American role in Yemen wholesale, and this time, it passed. But the White House has threatened to veto any bill that would unwind American involvement in the conflict and continues to vociferously defend its relationship with Saudi Arabia. Earlier in November, President Trump put out an official statement defending, in mercenary terms, his continued support of the Saudis. “After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States,” the statement said. “Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors.” (The State Department has acknowledged that only a $14.5 billion deal had been made at present.)
Because American jobs are the Trump administration’s stated reason for selling the weapons, I went to Tucson to see what those jobs were like. The city is surrounded by dry, scrubby land. Not much grows there. Brown mountains rise in jagged peaks; the topography is almost identical to northern Yemen. Tucson even has F-16s from an Air National Guard base soaring around the valley — single-engine jets that are smaller and slower than the F-15s the Saudis fly. When you hear the air curdling, you don’t know at first if it’s wind or an 18-wheeler pushing down Interstate 10, and then there’s a roar, and backswept wings appear and disappear above you. Tucson also has a wealth of defense contractors, all part of the Sun Corridor, a booster group that puts up signs proclaiming the region’s laurels; that Tucson, for example, was named one of “America’s best cities for global trade” by Global Trade Magazine. Of all the companies in the Sun Corridor, though, the biggest private employer, by a sizable margin, is Raytheon Missile Systems, a subsidiary of Raytheon.
Raytheon began its corporate life as the American Appliance Company, developing refrigerators and radio parts, but it was drawn into military contracting during World War II. By the 1990s, the industry was contracting with the end of the Cold War, but Raytheon remained committed to defense. It even began selling off nonmilitary businesses and buying up military-oriented subsidiaries of other companies, including those at Texas Instruments and Chrysler. One of the more tectonic shifts in the industry, however, occurred when Raytheon outbid Northrop Grumman to buy Hughes Electronics.
Howard Hughes, the aircraft pioneer and industrial magnate, had not wanted to build missiles at his aircraft plant in Los Angeles — it was too close to the coast, and therefore, he feared, susceptible to attack — so he went looking for someplace inland, eventually settling on Tucson. When Raytheon acquired Hughes Electronics in 1997, it also acquired the missile plant. The acquisition nearly doubled its annual sales, and today Raytheon employs nearly 10,000 people in Tucson alone. Raytheon makes more money on defense than any company in the world except Lockheed Martin, with nearly $25 billion in sales a year.
Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/11/magazine/war-yemen-american-bomb-strike.html827