The US Department of Defense (DoD) is supplying six V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to the Israeli Air Force (IAF) to help strengthen the country’s defence capabilities, US defence secretary Chuck Hagel has revealed.
Speaking during the 100th annual Anti-Defamation League (ADL) meeting in New York, US, Hagel said, ”Israel will get six V-22s out of the next order to go on the assembly line, and they will be compatible with other [Israeli defense force] capabilities.”
An unnamed senior defence official was quoted by Defense News as saying that Israel sent an official request to the Pentagon for procurement of six V-22 helicopters, earlier this week.
”As such, the United States will fold Israel’s request into the next lot of aircraft to go onto the assembly line, and the Marine Corps will recoup its aircraft at a later date,” the official said.
The acceleration will ensure delivery in two years, making Israel the first foreign operator of the aircraft, according to the official.
The sale forms part of a $10bn package announced by the US early this year to help its Middle-Eastern allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, counter any potential threats from Iran in the future.
Jointly manufactured by Bell Helicopter and Boeing, the V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, tiltrotor aircraft featuring both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), and short take-off and landing (STOL) capability.
Available in three configurations, the twin Rolls-Royce AE 1107C-Liberty engine-powered aircraft is used by the US Air Force (USAF) and Marine Corps for amphibious assault, combat support, long-range special operations infiltration and exfiltration, transport, search-and-rescue, medical evacuation, and fleet logistic support missions.
Image: A US Marine Corps’ MV-22 Osprey aircraft prepares to land aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Nassau. Photo: courtesy of US Navy Lt jg Anthony Falvo (Released).