Israel’s air force is in the final stages of selecting new rotorcraft for use by its flying academy, with the AgustaWestland AW119, Airbus Helicopters H125 and Bell Helicopter 407GXP the remaining contenders.

A selection is expected before the end of the year, with the service seeking a replacement for aged Bell 206s. After receiving basic instruction, cadets are transferred to squadrons equipped with transport or attack helicopters before commencing operational flying.

The Israel defence force is seeking to enter into a private finance initiative arrangement, via which a private company will buy the new helicopters and sell flight hours to the air force.

Elbit Systems has previously entered into several such contracts with the Israeli air force on fixed-wing trainers including the Grob Aircraft G120, and also with the Israeli police for its new H125s.