USNEWS.com-Hagel to Ink First Foreign V-22 Transport Sale With Israel
The Osprey is finally spreading its wings for the rest of the world.
Pentagon sources say the U.S. has negotiated a deal with the Israelis to sell the first ever V-22 Osprey transports to a foreign country. The tilt-rotor aircraft - marketed for its ability to take off and land like a helicopter and fly fast like an airplane - generated negative attention during its initial testing and development as what critics called an unsafe and unreliable vehicle.
But improvements to the Ospreys impressed the Marine Corps, which will soon use it as the primary medium-lift helicopter for all it’s troop transport missions. And the V-22 has proven itself on the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The purchasing agreement between the U.S. and Israel will be a key component of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s upcoming tour of the Middle East. “It’s a significant achievement, and the timing of this trip is appropriate,” a senior defense official says. “Secretary Hagel wanted to make sure to travel to Israel very early to finalize parts of this agreement and talk through it.”
This agreement, the official added, is one of the most “significant and complex and comprehensive which we’ve seen.”