Editor Note: The below article was originally published here and was run through Google Translate.
By guest contributor Nir Dvori: Mr. Nir Dvori is a military correspondent for Channel 2 News.
The IDF has been following the development of the V-22 for years: an airplane helicopter with unique operational capabilities • It is one of the most special aircraft ever designed, which can operate forces far from the borders of the country, quickly and flexibly • But not only the price tag is daunting: There were disagreements about the benefit • Will Biden's visit to Israel lead to a positive development?
Six V-22 helicopters took off at night from Ruta Air Force Base in Spain, accompanied by four Hercules aircraft: two for aerial refueling, the other two "Gun-Ship" models armed with cannons, missiles and electronic disruptors.
The task force flew 1,700 miles, up to Niger, to rescue American hostages captured by a local terrorist organization. This flight took place two years ago: it would not have been possible to carry out such a rescue operation without the unique capability of the helicopter / Hoy-22 aircraft. This operation has not gone unnoticed by senior IDF officials. They fully understand the implications of using special forces away from the borders of the country, with the speed and flexibility that no other helicopter allows.
The aircraft combines the capability of a standard helicopter with the fast and long-range cruising capability of an aircraft. After taking off and reaching the desired altitude, it can switch to horizontal flight as a normal aircraft, by tilting its engines to a 90-degree angle forward. The aircraft is manufactured in collaboration between the American helicopter manufacturer Bell Helicopter and the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing. Its operational capability enables the deployment of long-range forces, with escort aircraft, and also fly at the speed of an aircraft.
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Since entering service, the aircraft has participated in medical missions and medical hits in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Libya and more - while in Israel the performance is closely monitored. For the past two years, the IDF has seriously considered purchasing the V-22 from US aid funds with the support of Defense Minister Bnei Gantz, despite initial opposition from Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi.
The "Osprey" (the name of yours, a long-beaked bird that pulls fish out of the water) is one of the most interesting aircraft ever designed. It is about 18 meters long and 5.6 meters wide. It is capable of flying at a maximum speed of about 500 km / h for a maximum range of about 3,800 kilometers. The price of one vehicle is about $ 60 million.
There is only one problem. Although the special forces in the Air Force, the Intelligence Division and the 98th Division, the belief in landing forces in depth, recommended - in the IDF it was decided to give up for the time being the purchase of 4 V-22 helicopters. Budget to build in-depth raid capabilities for special forces using Hoy-22.
This is a dilemma that the army has been in for a long time: on the one hand, the ability of fighters to land in the depths of the enemy quickly and with high "flow", during a short stay on the ground and in helicopters protected from anti-aircraft fire. His crew, seconds after landing a paratrooper force in Litani in the Second Lebanon War. On the other hand - the ability to carry out rapid and quiet intrusions very far from Israel in activities carried out by the army within the framework of the IDF, the battle between the wars, or in special operations while fighting.
This poses another challenge to the IDF, which is currently practicing for the first time the full model of attack it has recently built against Iran's nuclear facilities. Will an air strike also require the IDF to use special forces on the ground to intensify the attack? And what will happen in places where effectiveness, due to various variables, will not be achieved by attacking from the air? And what will happen if attacking planes fall so far from Israel - in Iran: how will they be rescued and by what means?
The window of opportunity for Israel to try and pass such a decision is closing: by the end of the summer it can be decided, and signed with the US administration, that orders should be passed to the US manufacturer "Bel-Boeing". This will determine the price and delivery date. And it is continuous and full of requests from Israel: will there be room to examine this procurement addition as well? And will a creative solution be found that will significantly upgrade Israel's operational capabilities?