Israeli Air Force Considering Leasing V-22 Aircraft From US
Israel’s Defense Ministry has begun the practical examination of the proposal that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) lease six to eight V-22 aircraft, which take off and land vertically, from the US. The ministry is examining the means of implementing the proposal, as it is something that has not been done before.
The V-22 airplane-helicopter produced by Boeing and Bell in the US was examined by IAF pilots and was found suitable for “a variety of missions.” The original plan was to procure 4-6 V-22 aircraft, each of which costing nearly $75 million. A source familiar with the issue said that after the V-22 proved its operational capability and after overcoming early issues it suffered from, there is certainly room for such procurement as an addition to the IAF’s existing helicopter force.
The source said that the V-22’s take off and landing capabilities make it a very useful vehicle, primarily with regards to transport missions in combat areas and medical evacuation missions. “The integration between an ordinary airplane and helicopter makes it an exceptional vehicle,” he said.
Jointly developed by Boeing and Bell, the V-22 was developed over many years, and the process was accompanied by many malfunctions, as well as accidents that resulted in casualties. After the problems were solved, the US Marine Corps acquired the vehicle and is putting it to operational use.
The V-22 Osprey can fly 24 soldiers with their equipment to a range of 700 kilometers and flies at a maximum altitude of nearly eight kilometers. Another advantage lies in its ability to operate from airfields whose lanes were damaged from bombs or missiles. The fact that the V-22 flies like an aircraft after taking off makes it preferable over a helicopter due to the flight speed. For comparison, the Yasur CH-53 helicopter used by the IAF flies at a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour, whereas the V-22 can fly at a maximum speed of 500 kilometers per hour.