Five surplus US military Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters purchased for use as spares have arrived in Israel. The acquisition was made because the Israeli air force is working to keep its fleet of CH-53s flying.
The aircraft were this year transported by truck from Arizona (below) to Houston, where they were loaded on to a cargo ship. Now in Israel, they have been transferred to the air force's 22 maintenance unit at Tel Nof air base, where they will be cannibalised as needed.
All images: Israeli air force magazine
Selected by Israeli specialists, the five heavy transport helicopters involved in the deal are accompanied by a number of engines, tails, rotor blades and other items that had been removed from ex-US examples.
The Israeli air force's original plan was to continue operating its roughly 23 CH-53s until it could acquire Sikorsky's new-generation CH-53K, now in development for the US Marine Corps. A possible alternative approach has been proposed by Boeing, however, with the company suggesting last year that its CH-47 Chinook could be made available to the service via a private finance initiative deal where a third party would purchase aircraft and supply flight hours.