Photo Credit: Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Mark Fayloga
Marines and sailors make their way to a Marine Medium Tiltorotor Squadron 365 MV-22 Osprey.

Israel is once again interested in the Bell Boeing MV-22 Ospreys, following the joint exercise it recently conducted with the US Marine Corps, Defense Industry Daily reported Monday.

Juniper Cobra 2018, a joint US-Israel ballistic missile defense exercise, formally concluded on March 15, after several weeks of robust training on shared capabilities and interoperability via computer simulations and live scenarios. Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilians took part in a wide array of joint training opportunities in various locations throughout Israel, ranging from mass casualty response to ballistic missile defense.


But, apparently, the first conclusion the IDF brass has drawn from the project was that they must add to their arsenal the Bell-Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, which has the capability to take off and land vertically and on short runways. It is primarily used by the US Marine Corps and Air Force.

According to Defense Industry Daily, a year ago, Israel decided to halt the process of acquiring the V-22 Osprey, which was being considered as a solution for supporting special forces personnel.

A CV-22 Osprey aircraft from the 8th Special Operations Squadron flies over the Emerald Coast outside Hurlburt Field, Fla. / Photo credit: DOD photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, U.S. Air Force.

Back in 2009, Israel reportedly favored the Sikorsky CH-53K over the V-22. In 2013, an agreement was finalized to sell Israel six V-22, costing $1.3 billion, which were expected to arrive by 2015. But in October 2014, media reports suggested Israel had canceled its V-22 procurement due to budget restraints and changing policies. The Defense Minister at the time, Ehud Barak, decided to wait until the March 2015 elections to push for approval from a new cabinet. But by then Barak had been replaced by Moshe Ya’alon, who was not interested in the V-22s.

In 2017, a media report suggested Israel had frozen its evaluation of the V-22 Osprey, “with a senior defense source indicating that the tiltrotor is unable to perform some missions currently conducted using the Sikorsky CH-53 transport helicopters.”

But seeing the aircraft in action during the Juniper Cobra 2018 may have changed some minds at the decision-making level in Israel, and, according to Israeli sources cited by Defense Industry Daily, a V-22 deal could be considered, “in small numbers.”

Last week, Bell Boeing has landed another V-22 Osprey support contract, valued at more than $102.8, by the US defense Department.


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