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 equipment new.

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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 this year.

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 helicopters.

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.

An IAF inquiry concluded that the accident was most likely the result of human error.

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.

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