Friday, May 05, 2017

Push begins in Israel to buy the CH-53K...

Pics and Story via IsraelNationalNews.
Most IDF combat soldiers have encountered the “Yasur” helicopter on one occasion or another during their service.

Whether supplying ground troops, transporting forces or unfortunately conducting MEDEVAC operations, the CH-53 Stallion, as it is known in English, is the backbone of the IAF’s logistical air arm.

The Yasur also works in the shadows. Despite its size and sometimes because of it, it is also used for IDF Saret units Special Ops. One of its more recent known ops was conducted during the Second Lebanon War when the IDF’s Special Unit Sayeret Matkal was flown with the Yasur deep into Baalbek Lebanon in an attempt to reveal the location of two Israeli kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Now, after nearly 50 years of service, the CH-53 Stallion is feeling like a normal 50-year-old person. The Yasur needs more attention and is frequently sent for “check ups” at the IAF’s maintenance depots. The IAF had attempted to replace the Yasur in 2008, but was unsuccessful in finding a suitable replacement. The heavy lift helo is a workhorse on the job and considered extremely reliable despite its age.

Although the Yasur has been in the spotlight negatively for two of Israel’s tougher moments due to a collision took place in 1997 over Shear Yishuv killing 73 soldiers and in 1979 killing 54 soldiers, the Yasur actually has an extremely safe record in comparison with other aircraft with regards to the amount of flying hours.

The helicopter which serves today in the IAF still looks almost the same to the one which entered service 50 years ago. Its “brains” have been upgraded throughout the years due to several modernization programs, but if you take the helicopter apart like they do for inspection in the IAF Maintenance Depot, the airframe is just as it was 50 years ago.
This is a typical fluff piece that tries to make a case for an expensive weapon system buy.  Note that they highlighted the deaths of IDF Soldiers as a way to play on the heartstrings and to rally Israeli's to buy this plane to keep their people safe.

I'll be keeping an eye on the Israelis with regard to this purchase.  Even with US foreign aid, they're still dealing with finite dollars.  Buying 140 million a piece helicopters is quite a chunk of change.

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