Israel has signed a deal with the United States to buy 12 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky CH-53K helicopters and two Boeing KC-46 refuelling planes, the Israeli Defence Ministry announced today.
The Ministry said the deal is worth around $3.1 billion adding that the procurement is “part of a wider programme to strengthen the capabilities of the IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] and preparedness to face current and developing threats.”
“These procurement agreements are significant milestones in the IDF’s force build-up processes,” added Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz. “We continue to strengthen our capabilities and to change and adapt our Air Force to face future challenges both near and far.”
According to i24NEWS, the first helicopters are expected to reach Israel in 2026, according to Israel’s Defence Ministry.
The agreement was signed yesterday with the US Navy by the Head of the Mission, General Michel Ben Baruch.
The purchase will include a new fleet of F35 aircraft, refuelling aircraft, CH-53K helicopters, advanced air munitions, air defence systems, marine and land platforms and cyber systems.
The new deal comes after the Biden administration signed off on a controversial sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel amid Tel Aviv’s 11-day offensive on Gaza last May.
Despite claims by the Biden administration that it is committed to working behind the scenes to deescalate the violence, the US has blocked several attempts by the UN Security Council to call for a ceasefire.