Tuesday, November 29, 2016

IDF soon to put out RFI for new heavy transport helicopter

via Globe.co.il
Israel's Defense Ministry will soon publish an RFI for the overhaul of its system of transport helicopters.
There are those in the US who are revving up their engines in advance of the next huge Israeli Ministry of Defense deal. The Israeli air force, which will receive two of the 33 F-35 stealth fighters it has ordered from Lockheed Martin, is also planning to overhaul its system of transport helicopters, based on outdated Yasours, in the coming years. It is believed that the Ministry of Defense will publish a request for information (RFI) in the matter in the coming year. Various sources said that the deal would be in the billions of shekels.
The contract is expected to pit two major US arms manufacturers with deep roots in Israel against each other: Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Lockheed Martin thinks that Israel should not change horses in midstream; since the Israeli air force likes its old Yasour helicopters, the company is offering its completely new and far more advanced CH-53K.
Boeing, on the other hand, is not sitting on its hands. It is likely to offer the air force its twin-engine, tandem rotor CH-47, the first models of which were produced in the early 1960s. This helicopter differs substantially from the CH-53K.
Informed sources say that the air force is seeking to procure 20-25 helicopters to replace the Yasour. The value of the deal is still unclear, and informed sources are finding it difficult to estimate it. "Lockheed Martin's proposal will be more expensive than the Boeing alternative of an outmoded helicopter that is still being manufactured despite its lack of new technologies. The air force will have to choose between price and capabilities: if you want more capabilities, you have to pay more. If the air force decides to settle for the Boeing helicopter, it can pay less," Lockheed Martin Israel CEO Brigadier General (res.) Joshua Shani told "Globes." "Our proposal will be more expensive than Boeing's, but the air force knows and likes the Yasour. There is no doubt that there will be a struggle between the two offers on the table. The Ministry of Defense will send air force pilots to try out the two helicopters and get their impressions. In any case, no decision will be taken on the matter before 2018.
This is gonna be interesting.  Everyone is looking at this as Boeing offering the basic US Army variant CH-47, but I don't think people are looking at how the Israelis have used their Yasour in actual combat.

They're more rescue helicopters or deep insertion platforms than they are transports or logistics planes.

If Boeing is smart they'll offer some form of the MH-47 with the chance of Israeli firms to put specific equipment into the bird, maybe uprated engines, of course the enlarged fuel tanks and maybe even an advanced radar so that it can put Sayeret Matkal bubbas into the Iranian desert to mark targets for that eventual strike on their nuclear enrichment plants.

This looks like a done deal for Lockheed Martin/Sikorsky but don't count out the MH-47 (if I'm right) just yet.  Its still a formidable airplane...and with the low numbers being bought and the chance for industrial offsets for Israeli industry it just might win this competition.

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