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Israel revives interest in V-22 purchase

Israeli personnel have taken a fresh opportunity to assess the Bell Boeing MV-22 Osprey's capabilities, during a joint exercise conducted with the US Marine Corps.

Staged in Israel from mid-March, the "Kia Green" manoeuvres included support from Osprey tiltrotors operating from the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima. Other US military and Israeli air force aircraft were also involved in the joint activity.

"The exercise has a long history, and since 2014 it has been held continuously every year," says the head of Israel's international co-operation exercises division, identified only as Maj. The recent version was the largest such undertaking in recent years, he adds.

Israel last year froze a potential acquisition process for the V-22, which had emerged as a possible solution for supporting its special forces personnel following flight evaluations conducted four years go. In January 2014, the US Department of Defense notified Congress about its intention to sell six of the tiltrotors to the nation.

Following the type's participation in the recent exercise, Israeli sources indicate that a re-evaluation of a V-22 deal could be considered, "even in small numbers".

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