Last week (Thursday), Israel’s Ministry of Defense and the Italian Defense Ministry signed an agreement regarding the procurement of seven advanced military training helicopters for the Israeli Air Force.
According to the agreement, the Ministry of Defense will purchase seven AW119Kx helicopters in a deal that will see the Italian Defense Ministry buy an equivalent value of Israeli military technology. The helicopters – to be utilized at the Flight Academy in Hatzerim AFB – are due to gradually replace the Israeli Air Force’s current “Saifan” (Bell 206) training helicopter, which has been in use since the 1970s.
The helicopters, manufactured by the Italian “Leonardo” company, are utilized in dozens of police and defense forces around the world. The company has also manufactured the “Lavi” (M-346) trainer aircraft, integrated by the force approximately five years ago.
As part of the “Lavi” agreement signed in 2011, 30 trainer aircraft were purchased. In exchange, the Italians purchased an equivalent value of Israeli aerospace technology, including satellites and surveillance aircraft. To this day, the “Lavi” aircraft have operated for tens of thousands of hours and are considered a great success.
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