Israel has ordered Lockheed Martin CH-53K Stallion helicopters. File Photo

Israel has ordered Lockheed Martin CH-53K Stallion helicopters.

Israel Signs Deal To Buy $3 Billion In US Helicopters, Refueling Tankers

12/31/2021

Israel has signed a deal with the United States to buy 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K helicopters and two Boeing Co KC-46 refueling planes, the defense ministry said on Friday.

The deal amid heightened tensions with Iran is estimated to total at around $3.1 billion, according to the defense ministry.

Israel has repeatedly said in recent months that it will not hesitate to attack Iran if Tehran's nuclear program approaches a weapons' capability.

The deal, signed on Thursday, is part of an upgrade of Israel's air force capabilities and includes an option to buy six additional helicopters, a ministry statement said.

It said the first helicopters were due to arrive in Israel in 2026. Brigadier-General Shimon Tsentsiper, chief of materiel 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.

Israeli media have speculated that the refueling planes could be crucial for carrying out a long-threatened air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Tsentsiper said the air force's current refueling capacities were sufficient for its missions.

With reporting by Reuters

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