The Israeli air force has abandoned its evaluation of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey and is instead showing interest in the capabilities of Sikorsky's developmental CH-53K.
Israel confirmed in 2007 that it was evaluating the V-22 tiltrotor, but an air force source says its interest has now been terminated. "The V-22 is not on our current list," the source adds.
The need for a new vertical take-off and landing aircraft became more acute following a decision to phase out some of the air force's legacy CH-53s. As an interim measure, it is prolonging the service lives of some of these aircraft by upgrading them to the CH-53 2025 configuration.
"We will wait for the CH-53K and evaluate it when it flies," says the air force source. The new type will maintain almost all the basic capabilities of Sikorsky's previous CH-53E, but will be capable of lifting a much heavier payload.
The US Marine Corps is expected to begin operating the new K-model transport from around the middle of the next decade.