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Within the framework of a reciprocal procurement agreement, the Israel Ministry of Defense will purchase five advanced training helicopters from Italy, increasing the Air Force’s training fleet to 12 aircraft. The Italian Ministry of Defense will purchase Rafael spike missiles and Elbit Systems simulators in exchange.
The agreement signed on September 22 completes the exchange between Israel and Italy that began in February 2019, according to the Israel MoD statement.
The reciprocal procurement agreement constitutes purchases on both sides. The Israel Ministry of Defense will purchase a ‘training package’ from the Italian defense contractor, Leonardo. The package includes 12 AW119KX training helicopters and two simulators for the Air Force Flight School. The first seven helicopters were purchased a year ago, and an additional five were agreed upon today. The new aircraft will gradually replace the “Sayfan” (Bell 206) helicopters, which have been in service since the 1970s.
The Italian Ministry of Defense will purchase Spike launchers and missiles from Rafael and advanced simulators for a number of helicopter models in the Italian military, from a partnership between Leonardo and Elbit Systems. This is a continuation of the 2011 agreement signed between the Israeli and Italian governments, in which the Israeli Ministry of Defense purchased 30 training aircraft in exchange for the purchase of an observation satellite and two airborne early warning systems.
Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Defense, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Amir Eshel said the agreement enables the IDF to complete the replacement of its old training aircraft. “In addition, the reciprocal procurement agreement which includes the purchase [of systems] from Israeli defense industries, positively affects Israel’s exports and economy.”