US to sell 18 helicopters to Israel in $3.4 billion deal
The US has announced that it could potentially sell 18 helicopters to Israel, in a deal worth up to $3.4 billion, according to reports by Reuters.
The US state department made the announcement on Friday, saying that Israel was set to receive 18 CH-53K heavy-lift helicopters.
Included within the deal would be engines, navigation systems, weaponry, support equipment, spares, and technical support.
"The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defence capability," the state department said in a statement.
"The proposed sale will improve the Israeli Air Force’s capability to transport armoured vehicles, personnel and equipment to support distributed operations. Israel will use the enhanced capability as a deterrent to regional threats and to strengthen its homeland defence," the statement added.
While the deal has been approved by the state department, no contracts or agreement have been signed.
According to Haaretz, the prime contractors of the deal are Lockheed Martin Corp and the Israeli General Electric Co.
The US has faced sharp criticism in the past for it arms deals with Israel, with many accusing them of enabling Israel's crimes in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza Strip.
Following the most recent Israeli assault on Gaza in May, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders introduced a bill to stop a $735 million arms deal to Israel.
His objection to the deal was later dropped and the deal was approved by Joe Biden's administration.