United States defence officials have made clear their intention to offer the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey to Israel. Should the deal go ahead, Israel would therefore be this unique tiltrotor design's first export customer.
Confirmation of the proposed Israeli V-22 Osprey sale was supplied by Chuck Hagel - US Defence Secretary - at a media event staged on 22 April in Tel Aviv. Alongside the Ospreys, Israel is also in line to be supplied with other advanced US-origin military technologies including radars and weapons.
"The new radar and anti-radiation missiles, along with Israel's participation in the Joint Strike Fighter programme, ensures that Israel will maintain air superiority for the next generation", explained Hagel. "The introduction of the V-22 into the Israeli Air Force will give the Israeli Air Force long-range, high-speed, maritime search-and-rescue capabilities to deal with a number of threats and contingencies."
Israeli Osprey Sale
Since it's not yet been formally agreed, no value's so far been place on the potential Israeli Osprey sale. However, Israeli Air Force pilots have already experienced the V-22 Osprey's flight characteristics. In December 2011, two of them got the chance to fly it and, subsequently, the Israeli Air Force's official website published their thoughts.
"We realised that the plane will absolutely change the name of the game", one reportedly said. "It will be able to carry out operations that we never imagined that one of our planes could execute. If we purchase the plane, our ranges of activity will dramatically change and we'll be able to reach points we've never even dreamed of."
V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor
The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tiltrotor is unique in modern military service as a design combining the vertical takeoff and landing qualities of a helicopter with the forward flight characteristics of a conventional transport aircraft.
It can accommodate a maximum of 32 troops or up to 20,000 pounds of cargo and cruises at 277 miles per hour, with a maximum speed of 316 miles per hour. Maximum range is 1,011 miles, while the Osprey climbs at up to 4,000 feet a minute and its armament includes an M240 machine gun.
The V-22 Osprey's operational debut occurred in 2007, when ten USMC MV-22B versions were sent to Iraq.