TURKEY PLANS TO buy ten US-surplus Sikorsky CH-53 heavylift helicopters for its special forces. The aircraft will be upgraded either by IsraelAircraft Industries (IAI), or in Turkey with Israeli assistance.

The helicopters are likely to receive the IAI-developed CH-53 2000 upgrade. This includes improved navigation systems and cockpit displays and a night-vision capability. The aircraft are thought to be ex-US Navy or Marine Corps CH-53s now in desert storage.

The two countries have become increasingly close recently, with Israel supplying weapons, including the Popeye stand-off missile and a McDonnell Douglas F-4 upgrade and Turkey reciprocating by helping the Israeli air force with its training.

Source: Flight International