Israel to buy US Military Helicopters, Refueling Planes

By IndraStra Global News Team

Cover Image Attribute: A Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter begins its ascent at the 2018 Berlin Air Show for the first time internationally at Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, Schönefeld, Germany, on April 25, 2018. / Source: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hailey D. Clay / As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.
Cover Image Attribute: A Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopter begins its ascent at the 2018 Berlin Air Show for the first time internationally at Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, Schönefeld, Germany, on April 25, 2018. / Source: U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Hailey D. Clay / As a work of the U.S. federal government, it is in the public domain.

By IndraStra Global News Team

On December 30, 2021, the Israeli Defense Ministry said it would buy 12 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopters and two Boeing KC-46 refueling planes. The new helicopters will replace the Sikorsky CH-53 Yas’ur heavy-lift aircraft that have been in use since the late 1960s. And, the KC-46, will replace Israel’s Ram (Boeing 707) tanker aircraft, the number of which remains confidential, are former civilian aircraft adapted for military uses such as aerial refueling for fighter jets embarked on long-range missions, as well as its fleet of transport aircraft.


The deal, signed on Thursday, includes an option to buy six additional helicopters, the ministry statement said. It said the first helicopters were due to arrive in Israel in 2026. An Israeli government committee gave the approval for the purchase last month after the Biden administration also waved it through in July.  


The ministry said the deal is worth around $3.1 billion, adding that the procurement is "part of a wider program to strengthen the capabilities of the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] and preparedness to face current and developing threats." It (the deal) comes days after a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said that the global arms industry was flourishing despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


Last month, Haaretz newspaper said the price for the Lockheed Martin helicopters included about $100 million per aircraft and a supplement of $15-20 million per aircraft for the addition of electronic equipment and special weaponry. The total price also includes simulators, training, and maintenance over a five-year period.


Brigadier-General Shimon Tsentsiper, chief of materials for the air force, told Israel's Army Radio on Thursday that the refueling planes on order would not be delivered before 2025. He said Israel was trying to bring forward the delivery of the KC-46s, and eventually wanted a total of four of them. In October, sources in the Defense Ministry stated that senior Israel Air Force (IAF) officers had requested that the supply of four KC-46 tanker aircraft from the US be sped up, asking that two of the aircraft be delivered immediately. The officers asked that the other two be supplied within the next two to three years. But, the US has rejected to fast-track the delivery of the first two air tankers.


Earlier in May, the Biden administration approved a sale of $735 million precision-guided weapons to Israel. Some progressive Democrats have urged the US Congress, which must approve these types of arms deals, to take a tougher stance against Israel's government. However, Israel is among a handful of countries whose military deals are approved under an expedited process.


With reporting by DW, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, and Reuters


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IndraStra Global: Israel to buy US Military Helicopters, Refueling Planes
Israel to buy US Military Helicopters, Refueling Planes
By IndraStra Global News Team
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