The Israel Ministry of Defense has announced it has chosen to buy Lockheed Martin’s CH-53K helicopters over Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook aircraft.
The new heavy-lift chopper will replace Israel’s CH-53D Sea Stallion Yasur helicopters that it has been using from over five decades.
In a statement, the ministry said: “The decision was made following a professional assessment that included test flights in all the proposed aircraft, as well as a thorough examination of the various alternatives in terms of engineering, technology, maintenance and other considerations. All details, including the number of helicopters requested, will be brought to the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Procurement as soon as possible.”
Israel has not said when the CH-53Ks will be delivered or the current cost of the procurement. No details regarding the number of the rotorcraft it plans to buy were provided.
The purchase will be part of an NIS 9 billion ($2.74 billion) arms deal with the U.S., approved by a ministerial committee earlier this month.
Development work on the Sikorsky CH-53K is continuing, with the helicopter expected to enter into the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation phase this summer. Full operational capability is expected in 2030. Four examples of this helicopter has been delivered to the U.S. Marine Corps, with negotiations under way for an additional 18 units under Lot 5 and 6 production.
Germany has also been choosing between CH-53Ks and Chinooks to replace its old CH-53G fleet.