Israel receives ex-U.S. Marine Corps helicopters
The Israeli Air Force has received the new batch of the ex-U.S. Marine Corps CH-53 heavy-lift transport helicopters.
The local media have reported that the Israeli Defense Ministry bought five decommissioned Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters from the U.S. to use for spare parts of the Air Force’s main Yasur transport helicopter.
“To address the growing difficulty in finding spare parts for the IDF’s veteran fleet of helicopters, the US Department of Defense, together with the Air Force, initiated over a year ago the procurement of US helicopters to be used as spare parts for the existing systems,” the Defense Ministry said.
Selected by air force experts, the ex-Marine Corps aircraft were moved by truck from storage in Arizona to Houston, Texas, where they were loaded on to a cargo ship.
In addition to the airframes, Israel will also receive a number of engines, tail sections, rotor blades and other items that have been removed from service to support its fleet.
Yasur is a special configuration of CH-53 which developed for Israel.
Israel’s fleet of Yasur heavy transport helicopters was purchased from the United States in the late 1960s. Though the aircraft have been upgraded and restored in the interim five decades, they are widely seen in the military as ready for retirement, in favor of newer models.