Israel to Procure CH-53K Helicopters and KC-46 Refuelling Aircraft, Signs Agreement with US Government

By ARIE EGOZI

Defence Industry

Tel Aviv: The Israel Ministry of Defence has signed an agreement (LOA) with the US government to acquire 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K helicopters and two Boeing KC-46 refuelling aircraft.

Defence Minister, Benny Gantz said in a statement that these procurement agreements are significant milestones in the IDF’s force buildup processes. “We continue to strengthen our capabilities and to change and adapt our Air Force to face future challenges both near and far.”

On December 30 evening, the Ministry of Defence Mission to the US signed an agreement (LOA) for the purchase of 12 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky helicopters, which will replace the IAF’s old CH-53 “Yasur” helicopters.

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The scope of the agreement is estimated at $2 billion in (FMF) funding. The agreement was signed with the US Navy by the Head of the Mission, Brig. Gen. (Res.), Michel Ben Baruch. The agreement includes an option to procure 6 additional helicopters. The first helicopters are expected in Israel during the year 2026.

The Head of Mission signed an additional agreement for the procurement of two Boeing KC-46 refueling aircraft. The agreement amounts to approximately $1.1 billion. The platform will be adapted to meet the IAF’s operational requirements and Israeli systems will be integrated into aircraft.

The procurement of these platforms is part of a large-scale program undertaken by the Ministry of Defence together with the IDF over the last year and a half, with the aim of strengthening the IDF’s capabilities, force buildup and preparedness to face existing and future threats.

The procurement plans include the purchase of a new fleet of F35 aircraft, refueling aircraft, CH-53K helicopters, advanced air munition, air defense systems, new marine and land platforms as well as cyber systems.