TEL AVIV, ($1=3.15 Israeli Shekels) – Israel is the first foreign country to buy the latest Sikorsky CH-53K heavy helicopter, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Flight Global.
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The information was also confirmed by local Israeli media, which wrote on November 28 that the Israeli government had approved the purchase of this type of helicopter, following a decision by the government’s military procurement commission. According to the information provided, Tel Aviv will want to acquire between 10 and 15 Sikorsky CH-53K.
The news was expected in the middle of this year, when the election for a new heavy helicopter, which was to replace the already obsolete CH-53D helicopters of the Israeli army, ended. BulgarianMilitary.com announced the decision on July 31st after the US State Department authorized the purchase on July 30th.
Israel will receive at least 60 T408-GE-400 engines, of which 6 spares, 36 global positioning systems, navigation systems, communication equipment, machine guns Browning model GAU-21 50th caliber, various surveillance and intelligence devices, technical documentation, installation, support in their operation, etc.
According to a document released by the US State Department, this deal is vital for both the Israeli government and US interests in the region. Israel is known to be the largest customer of the US defense industry in the Middle East, often buying weapons technology that is not even in service with the US military.
The new helicopters will increase the combat capability of the Israeli Air Force, and the government will most likely use them to transport heavy cargo or soldiers during military operations in the area and to protect the country’s territorial integrity. According to experts, Israel will have no difficulty in adopting the new Lockheed Martin models, as they have worked on an older version of the Lockheed Martin CH-53K so far.
In addition to Lockheed Martin, contractors for the project will include Shelton, Connecticut; and General Electric Company, Lynn, Massachusetts. The State Department said that due to the size of the order, it would be necessary for American experts to be sent to Israel frequently to carry out the smooth delivery and acceptance of the purchased equipment. The last Lockheed Martin CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter is expected to be delivered to Tel Aviv within three years.
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