By Arie Egozi
Tel Aviv: The US State Department has approved the foreign military sales (FMS) to the Government of Israel of CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters with support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $ 3.4 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today.
The Government of Israel has requested to buy up to eighteen (CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters, up to sixty T408-GE-400 Engines (54 installed, 6 spares) and up to thirty-six Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM). Also included is communication equipment, GAU-21 .50 caliber Machine Guns, Mission Planning System, facilities study, design and construction, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, aircrew and maintenance training, US Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is $3.4 billion.
According to Lockheed Martin the price tag of the CH-53K delivered to the US marines is 94.7 million US $. This price is for the airframe and systems and does not includes the peripheral equipment and support that comes with such a contract.
The proposed sale will improve the Israeli Air Force’s capability to transport armoured vehicles, personnel, and equipment to support distributed operations. Israel will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces. The Israeli air force has selected the CH-53K as the replacement for its old CH-53. The selection was made after a competition with the Boeing CH-47.
-The writer is an International Roving Correspondent of the publication.