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Israel finalises Seahawk sensor configuration

Israel's air force and navy have identified the intended sensor fit for a planned fleet of second-hand Sikorsky SH-60F Seahawk maritime helicopters.

The proposed acquisition of eight ex-US Navy rotorcraft is still in its early stages, but the type is expected to enter use aboard the Israeli navy's future fleet of four Saar-6 corvettes. The USA has already approved the transfer.

Israeli sources indicate that the preferred sensor package will be based on the one currently equipping the nation's ship-based Airbus Helicopters AS565s, which are operated by the Israeli air force – including an Elta Systems maritime search radar, but with additional capabilities.

A proposal to arm the helicopters is still being evaluated, with potential candidates including Rafael's Spike air-to-surface missile.

Once acquired, the Israeli military's Seahawks will be employed for duties including protecting natural gas pumping rigs in the Mediterranean Sea. Additional responsibilities will include performing anti-terrorism tasks and anti-submarine warfare missions flown in conjunction with other aerial platforms, including air force-operated Israel Aerospace Industries Heron 1 unmanned air vehicles.

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