Photo Credit: courtesy Sikorsky / Lockheed Martin
Sikorsky has delivered three operational CH-53K™ King Stallion™ heavy lift helicopters to the U.S. Marine Corps in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

The US State Department has approved the potential sale to Israel of 18 Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said it notified the US Congress on Friday, July 30 of the possible deal.

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The package includes engines, navigation systems, weaponry, support equipment, spares and technical support, according to the Flight Global website.

The deal was set at $3.4 billion but is still subject to negotiations between the US and Israel.

The King Stallion was first developed for the US Marine Corps. It is the most powerful helicopter in the Pentagon’s inventory.

“The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self defense capability,” the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.

“This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives. The proposed sale will improve the Israeli Air Force’s capability to transport armored vehicles, personnel, and equipment to support distributed operations.”

The new aircraft will be used to replace the IDF’s 22 aging fleet of Sea Stallion “Yasur” helicopters in service since the 1960s.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.