After show of force, Israel renews interest in advanced hybrid aircraft 

Source: After show of force, Israel renews interest in advanced hybrid aircraft – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Israel is choosing between several powerful possibilities to add to their fleets.

BY ANNA AHRONHEIM
 MARCH 29, 2018 16:40

Israel is once again considering purchasing the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey following the cancellation of its acquisition nearly four years ago.

 A defense source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that Israel will likely decide in the next year or two to purchase the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft.

 

Israel first expressed interest in Boeing’s V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft in 2012, and two years later the US Department of Defense notified Congress about its intention to sell six of them to Israel in a deal worth $1.13 billion, but the acquisition process was later frozen by the Jewish state following opposition within Israel’s Defense Ministry.

Primarily used by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) since entering service in 2007, the Osprey has seen extensive action in Afghanistan and Iraq, supporting long-range rapid reaction and crisis response missions.

Officials from Israel’s defense establishment were given a fresh opportunity to assess the capabilities of the aircraft in early March during a joint exercise conducted with the US Marine Corps in southern Israel.

Some 650 Marines trained with Israeli troops as part of the Kaya Green drill at the Tzehelim army base in several operational scenarios, including live fire and artillery drills in order to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two allies.

Several V-22 Osprey tiltrotors, operating from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, provided support for the marines in the exercise, along with several other US military and IAF aircraft.

The aircraft’s ability to fly far and fast has led to many to see the V-22 as a possible solution for supporting special forces, and due to its air-to-air refueling capabilities, which can allow the aircraft to reach Iran. Without aerial refueling, the V-22 is capable of flying some 1,442 miles.

According to a 2015 report in the Wall Street Journal, Israel sought US “military hardware useful for a strike” on Iran in summer 2012 and “at the top of the list were V-22 Ospreys.”

The report stated the Ospreys were to drop special forces “behind enemy lines” into Iran to attack the Fordow enrichment facility.

The multirole combat aircraft uses tiltrotor technology, combining the vertical performance of helicopters (such as take off and landings) with the speed, altitude and range of fixed-wing planes, making them the ideal aircraft for that sort of mission, as they don’t need runways.

The Israeli military is modernizing its squadrons of aging fighter jets and helicopters and, according to the defense source, the air force has understood that there needs to a be a mix of heavy-lift helicopters and the V-22.

The purchase of the tiltrotor aircraft would make Israel the second country outside the United States to deploy them, after Japan, which bought four V-22 Ospreys in July of 2016.

As part of the new procurements funded in large part by the MOU signed last year between Jerusalem and Washington that would see Israel receive $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, Israel has purchased two squadrons of F-35 Adir stealth fighters and is currently deciding between Boeing’s Chinook or Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K heavy lift helicopters.

Israel’s Air Force is also set to decide within the coming months between purchasing a third squadron of F-35 jets or Boeing’s latest F-15I, which, according to Haaretz is what IAF Chief Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin is leaning toward.

“The F-15I advanced jet is no longer like the F-15 Israel currently flies,” the source told the Post. “It only looks like it from the outside. Everything inside the jet is 10 years more advanced than even the F-35.”

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