The Israeli ministry of defense has frozen the deal to procure V-22 Ospreys temporarily, amid budget turbulences and the impending installation of a new government.
"The contract to purchase the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey will be frozen until more resources are available,” senior Israeli defense officials were quoted as saying by Vertical.
The Israel Air Force (IAF) had sought to buy V-22 Ospreys with country-specific modifications from nearly seven years ago. The US State Department had even given its nod for Israel's request to buy six V-22B Block C aircraft for $1.13 billion.
The Osprey is one among very few aircraft capable of carrying the F135 engine that powers F-35 stealth jets that the country already owns.
Israel has now reportedly prioritized purchase of additional F-35I and F-15 fighters, and Boeing KC-46A tanker aircraft as replacement for obsolete Israel Air Force 707’s that serve as converted aerial refueling aircraft.
In August 2019, the Israeli ministry of defense issued a price and availability request to the US Navy’s international programs office for the acquisition of the V-22.
That official step toward purchasing the aircraft followed a declaration by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, the Israeli defense forces’ (IDF) chief of staff, that there is an operational need for more than two dozen Ospreys.
The decision about the acquisition of the V-22 has been delayed for some years, mainly because of conflicting reports made by the Israeli airforce (IAF) and the IDF’s ground forces command.
It is expected that once a new Israeli government is formed, buying the V-22 will be back on the table.
The country is also poised to pick between Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion and Boeing CH-47F Chinook to replace old CH-53E helicopters. The country’s defense procurement budget also must contend with an increased need for missile defense capabilities and ongoing deals for buying ships and submarines from Germany.