The Defense Ministry has selected the Lockheed Martin CH53K to be the IDF's new heavy life helicopters, the ministry announced Thursday.

"The decision to purchase new heavy lift helicopters for the IAF, after decades, is a significant step in progressing the IDF’s force build-up. It is also essential to the IDF’s ability to carry out a wide range of operational activities. The new helicopter is adapted to the [IAF’s] operational requirements and to the challenges of the changing battlefield,” the ministry stated.

Today, Defense Minister, Benny Gantz accepted the recommendations presented by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, and Defense Ministry Director Genera, Maj. Gen. (Res.), Amir Eshel, to select Lockheed Martin’s CH53K helicopters as the IDF’s new heavy lift aircraft, as part of the IDF’s “Tnufa” (Momentum), multi-year plan. These will replace the “Yassur” helicopters employed by the IAF since the late 1960s.

The decision was made following a professional assessment that included test flights in all the proposed aircraft, we well as a thorough examination of the various alternatives in terms of engineering, technological, maintenance and other considerations. All details, including the number of helicopters requested, will be brought to the approval of the Ministerial Committee for Procurement as soon as possible.

The concluding discussion, chaired by the Minister of Defense, was attended by IDF Chief of the General Staff, Director General of the Ministry of Defense, IAF Commander, Maj. Gen. Amikam Norkin, and Head of the IDF’s Planning Directorate, Maj. Gen. Tomer Bar.

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