is seeking a deal with the United States for the supply of several V-22 Osprey
aircraft, which can take off and land like helicopters and fly at a cargo plane's velocity.
IDF Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Benny Gantz,
currently visiting Washington, was meant to board such an aircraft in a US army base south of Washington.
The Americans use the Osprey for Special Forces units and the IDF
wishes to put them to similar use.
The aircraft is not included in the military aid
the US provides Israel with, but Israel is eyeing a deal for the supply of six to eight aircrafts.
According to estimates, the Osprey will not replace the Air Force's helicopter array.
The Osprey has dual rotors mounted on rotating shafts (Tiltrotor), which enable the plane to function as a helicopter. But when the rotors are at a horizontal position it functions as a plane.
The innovative design is meant to combine the advantages of both aircraft – the maneuverability of a helicopter and the performance of a plane.
According to the US Defense Department
the cost of one Osprey is about $69 million.
About a year ago Marine Corps
Lieutenant General Terri Robling said that Israel, Canada and the United Arab Emirates expressed an interest in purchasing the aircraft, but have yet to receive a price offer or specifications.
The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response: "The chief of staff is on a work visit, and we have no intention of giving more details beyond what was already said."
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