Israel and Italy concluded a reciprocal procurement agreement under which the Israeli Ministry of Defence (MoD) will acquire 12 training helicopters and Italy will receive Rafael Systems’ “Spike” missiles and Elbit Systems’ simulators.
The agreement brought to fruition a 2011 agreemen between Israel and Italy in which Israel purchased 30 training aircraft and Italy purchased an Israeli observation satellite and two airborne early warning systems.
The deal, signed via video-conference Tuesday completes an exchange that began in February 2019, the Israeli Ministry of Defense said in a release:
“The exchange agreement will include mutual procurement: the Ministry of Defense will purchase from the Italian company Leonardo an advanced training package that will include 12 AW119KX training helicopters and 2 trainers for the Air Force Flight School (first 7 helicopters were purchased a year ago and 5 more helicopters were agreed today).
The newer helicopters will gradually replace the old Saipan (Bell 206) helicopters, which have been in service in the (Israel) Air Force since the 1970s. The Italian M0D will purchase "Spike" launchers and missiles from "Rafael" and advanced and linked trainers (simulators), for a number of helicopter models in the Italian army, from a company established in partnership with the Israeli "Elbit Systems" and the Italian "Leonardo". This is a continuation of the exchange transaction between the Israeli and Italian governments."(translated from Hebrew)
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented:
“The completion of this agreement is essential for the training of IAF helicopter pilots and for the development of Israel’s economy. It also reflects the great importance of defense industries both for Israel’s security and its economy.”