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Israel donated 16 AH-1F Cobra combat helicopters to Jordanian Air Force

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World Defense & Security News - Israel & Jordan
 
 
 
Israel donated 16 AH-1F Cobra combat helicopters to Jordanian Air Force
 
Israel has given retired US-supplied AH-1 Cobra combat helicopters to Jordan to help the Hashemite kingdom fend off insurgent threats on the Syrian and Iraqi borders, a US official with knowledge of the deal said. The handover, initiated last year, was approved by Washington, which provided mechanical overhauls for the aircraft before they were incorporated free of charge in Jordan's existing Cobra fleet, the official said.
     
Israel has given retired US-supplied AH-1 Cobra combat helicopters to Jordan to help the Hashemite kingdom fend off insurgent threats on the Syrian and Iraqi borders, a US official with knowledge of the deal said. The handover, initiated last year, was approved by Washington, which provided mechanical overhauls for the aircraft before they were incorporated free of charge in Jordan's existing Cobra fleet, the official said. IAF Bell AH-1F Cobra combat helicopter
     
"These choppers are for border security," the official, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue, told Reuters.

Asked how many Cobras were transferred, the official said: "Around 16, though some may have been used by the Jordanians for spare parts" rather than kept intact.

Jordanian and Israeli officials declined comment, as did the Pentagon.

Israel and Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia and Iraq, this week hosted US Defense Secretary Ash Carter, who offered reassurances about the regional fight against Islamic State and the July 14 international deal curbing Iran's nuclear programme.

Israel originally had two Cobra squadrons, which were designed to back ground troops with aerial surveillance as well as machine gun and rocket fire, and to be nimble enough to elude surface-to-air missiles. One of the squadrons was disbanded in the mid-2000s and the other in 2013 due to budget cuts. The attack helicopter role was taken up entirely by two squadrons of Israeli AH-64 Apache helicopters, and the fleet of unmanned aerial vehicles took over the role of patrolling combat zones.

with Israel's air force preferring the more powerful, US-supplied Apache helicopters also in its fleet and an expanded role for its thrifty and versatile pilotless drones.

Around 32 AH-1F Cobra combat helicopters are currently in service with the Royal Jordanian Air Force.