US approves foreign military sale of 18 CH-53K heavy lift helicopters with support to Israel

The State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Israel of CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters with Support and related equipment for an estimated cost of $3.4 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on July 30.

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US approves foreign military sale of 18 CH 53K heavy lift helicopters with support to Israel 01  A CH-53K lifting a Joint Light Tactical Vehicle during a demonstration (Picture source: US Navy)

The Government of Israel has requested to buy up to eighteen   CH-53K Heavy Lift Helicopters; up to sixty T408-GE-400 Engines (54 installed, 6 spares); and up to thirty-six Embedded Global Positioning System/Inertial Navigation Systems (EGI) with Selective Availability/Anti-Spoofing Module (SAASM). Also included is communication equipment; GAU-21 .50 caliber Machine Guns; Mission Planning System; facilities study, design and construction; spare and repair parts; support and test equipment; publications and technical documentation; aircrew and maintenance training; U.S. Government and contractor engineering, technical, and logistics support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support. The total estimated cost is $3.4 billion.

US approves foreign military sale of 18 CH 53K heavy lift helicopters with support to Israel 02 CH-53K helicopter (Picture source: Israeli MoD)

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion is a heavy-lift cargo helicopter. The design features three 7,500 shp (5,590 kW) engines, new composite rotor blades, and a wider aircraft cabin than previous CH-53 variants. The CH-53K, which can lift 36,000 pounds, is the most powerful heavy lift helicopter ever built in the United States.

The proposed sale will improve the Israeli Air Force’s capability to transport armored vehicles, personnel, and equipment to support distributed operations. Israel will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defense. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed sale of this equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin Global, Inc., Shelton, Connecticut; and General Electric Company, Lynn, Massachusetts. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale. Any offset agreements will be defined in negotiations between the purchaser and the contractor(s).