Bird of Prey: V22 Osprey Vies to Fly The Israeli Skies?
Venerable Hercules C-130 Transport & CH-53 Yasur possibly on the block?
So sayeth Haaretz, but I’m skeptical.
The air force has been debating the need to procure the V-22, an American-made transport aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing. [...]
A debate has been ongoing within the air force on whether to procure the aircraft, with the helicopter crews favoring the option because it would significantly improve their transport capabilities. The V-22 is capable of carrying similar loads to those carried by the CH-53 helicopter, which is currently in Israel Defense Forces use, but its speed, range and maximum altitude are double those of the helicopter. So the V-22 will enable commando and rescue operation at greater distances than those currently possible.
Opposing the V-22 option are senior air force officers, especially those in charge of procurement, who support buying more advanced CH-53 helicopters and C-130 turboprop aircraft to replace the aging fleets of existing transporters of the type.
The Osprey is a unique beast with unique capabilities.
Pluses already mentioned are range, speed & capacity greater than a chopper with similar V-TOL ability. However, the Osprey itself is massively controversial. The program was almost shelved numerous times in the US & was sickeningly over budget. The Osprey is also famously difficult to fly & prone to crash due to both hardware & pilot error, still a bit unproven. We’d have to retrain heavily for its use nor would it be particularly cheap.
Further, both the C-130 Hercules & the CH-53 choppers available going forward are, or have undergone monster overhauls in the USA & are state of the art. I reported on IAF procurement plans for the HERCS here, the IAF was planning to load some of them to the gills with Special Ops electronics – It’s not clear if those spec-ops ones are on the block if the Osprey were to arrive, but doubtful as the US Congress was already notified last year of the classic ‘impending sale to Israel’ line. Equally, some of the Yasur transport choppers in Israel are undergoing modernization programs designed to carry them well into the future as posted here.
Peas in a pod?
One primary bonus is that the IAF would be in line with the US, which is in many cases using the V-22 Osprey going forward for its own special-ops transport. Haaretz states the debate is ongoing, but the procurement officers prefer HERCS & Yasurs. If one were to wager, I’d say maybe we pick up a couple of V-22s for kicks.. But maintaining HERC supply lines, Yasur supply lines, pilot training & general infrastructure plus adding all new supplies training & infrastructure needs for V-22s seems like a classic army / air force clusterfark (pardon my military lingo).
Personally, I’ll believe it when I see one fly over my apartment or perhaps the beach – In both cases one can routinely see the occasional Yasur doing just that..