The Israeli Air Force has successfully completed the life extension project for the Sikorsky-built CH-53 helicopter, marked by the final helicopter leaving the aerial maintenance unit (AMU).
Named the Yas’ur 2025 project, the life extension programme was aimed at extending the lifespan of CH-53 to 2025.
Aerial Maintenance Unit commander colonel Shimon said: "This is the end of a long journey and the excitement is great.
"The first helicopters arrived to the unit almost ten years ago and today we give back a much safer, more developed formation.
"We had excellent partners from various units from the technical division and together we reached an admirable achievement."
Starting in 2006, the lifespan extending project included the modernisation of engines, dynamic systems and many other systems such as communications, navigating, self-defence and flight control.
In addition, the AMU engineers installed tens of thousands of wires and repaired cracks on the helicopter.
IAF Materiel Directorate head brigadier general Ran Bashevitz said: "When you calculate the amount of helicopters you need ready at any moment and the lifespan designed by the manufacturer, you realise you need to buy around 100 new helicopters each decade.
"We do not regularly buy platforms in these amounts. So how do we still answer operational demands? We extend the lifespan of our aircraft."
In addition, the Israeli Air Force also completed an enhancement session for the F-16 C/D ‘Barak’. The programme delivered advanced software capabilities to the aircraft.
Meanwhile, the country is also expected to complete an enhancement process of the C-130 ‘Hercules’, extending the aircraft’s life for at least ten more years.
Image: Israeli Air Force’s CH-53 helicopter is expected to serve the force until 2025. Photo: courtesy of Israeli Air Force.