By Arie Egozi
The new Israeli government to be formed after the April 9 general elections will have to make a fast selection of the next heavy helicopter of the Israeli Airforce (IAF).
The Israeli state Comptroller says in a special report the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) must decide without any delay on the helicopter that will replace the Israeli Airforce (IAF ) CH-53.
“Prolonging the life of the C-53 (Yasur) may endanger human life and may have significant operational implications and substantial maintenance costs,” the report says.
The report also says that the chief of staff must make a decision as soon as possible to answer future operational needs.
According to the comptroller report there is also a significant problem with spares for the old CH-53 that “require maintenance more frequently.”
Teams of IAF will soon arrive at the US to perform an independent evaluation of the Boeing CH-47 Chinook, and Lockheed martin CH-53 K helicopters, the two alternative to replace the current fleet of CH-53.
The teams will include test pilots, maintenance experts and other experts and will visit the U.S navy that operates the CH-53 K, and the Army that operates the Chinook. The plan is to get an opportunity to test the CH-53K already delivered and the 4 pre-production versions. The teams will also fly the Boeing CH-47 Chinook.
After the teams get back home, they will prepare comprehensive reports that will include all the aspects like capabilities, availability and life cycle cost.
The reports will be submitted to the new Israeli defense forces (IDF) chief of general staff lt. General Aviv Kochavi .
So far, the competition was unofficial, with the two companies talking with the IAF and the ministry of defense.
The reports will enable to issue the official RFI that will be aimed to evaluate not only the technical details, but the unit price.