The Ministry of Defense Mission to the U.S. signed an agreement (Letter of Agreement, LOA) with the U.S. government for the purchase of 12 Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion helicopters, and an additional agreement for the procurement of two Boeing KC-46 Pegasus refueling aircraft.
The procurement of these platforms is part of a wider Ministry of Defense program to strengthen the capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and preparedness to face current and developing threats.
The deal, signed on Thursday, includes an option to buy six additional helicopters, the ministry statement said. It said the first helicopters were due to arrive in Israel in 2026.
An Israeli government committee gave the approval for the purchase last month after the Biden administration also waved it through in July.
The new helicopters will replace the Sikorsky CH-53 Yas’ur heavy-lift aircraft that have been in use since the late 1960s.
The deal comes days after a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said that the global arms industry was flourishing despite the COVID-19 pandemic.