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Israel requests six-aircraft V-22 purchase

Israel is advancing with its plans to field the Bell Boeing V-22 tiltrotor transport, with its acquisition of a six-strong fleet to be worth more than $1 billion.

New details of the planned purchase were disclosed by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on 13 January, in a notification to Congress.

The government of Israel's request includes six aircraft in a "V-22B Block C" configuration, with these to be optimised for search and rescue and special operations duties, the DSCA says. Also counting related aircraft equipment, support services and personnel training, "the estimated cost is $1.13 billion", it adds.

"The proposed sale of V-22B aircraft will enhance and increase the Israel Defense Forces' search and rescue and special operations capabilities. The V-22B provides the capability to move personnel and equipment to areas not accessible to fixed-wing lift assets," the DSCA notes.

Israel began evaluating the V-22 in 2011, with some of its air force personnel having flown the aircraft from US Marine Corps facilities as part of the process. A final report produced following this work recommended that the service acquire "a number" of the aircraft to meet special operations requirements.

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