The Defense Ministry is in talks with the Pentagon about the possibility of
buying American military equipment that will be retired following the US
withdrawal from Iraq.
The advantage in purchasing used military equipment
from the US is the price, which is dramatically lower than buying the same
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The IDF Ground Forces Command is looking to renew its
aging fleet of Humvee combat vehicles with ones that the US will be phasing out
as it reduces its troop numbers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Israel is also
interested in acquiring surplus weapons and ammunition the US will no longer
require following the withdrawals.
“It seems that in some cases it is
cheaper to sell to other countries than to transport back to the US or bases in
Europe,” one defense official said.
Other countries in the region may
also try to buy some of the equipment, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are
both longtime customers of the US defense industries.
Saudi Arabia, for
example, recently received new Black Hawk helicopters and is purchasing $60
billion worth of advanced American military platforms.
Egypt is also the
recipient of $1.3b. in annual foreign military aid from the US, and Congress was
recently notified of Pentagon plans to sell the Egyptian military new Abrams
tanks. It would be the first major sale to Egypt since the revolution earlier
Meanwhile, on Thursday, the Israel Air Force completed a week
of joint maneuvers with the Romanian Air Force in the Carpathian Mountains. It
was the first IAF deployment in Romania since the helicopter accident there last
summer, although this time it consisted of C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft and not
Six IAF servicemen – pilots and technical crew – were killed
when a Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallion – called Yasour in the IAF – crashed into a
mountain during a military exercise in which crews were trained to fly at low
altitudes. A Romanian military officer who was observing the IAF crew aboard the helicopter, was also killed.
IAF inquiry concluded that the accident was most likely the result of human
The air force is interested in continuing to train in Romania and
particularly in the Carpathian Mountains, which are known for the unstable
weather as well as thick forests and high mountains, terrain that Israeli pilots
do not often get to train in.