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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Iran Press TV

Israel signs $3.1 billion deal with US for helicopters, refueling jets

Iran Press TV

Friday, 31 December 2021 11:34 AM

Israel has signed a multibillion-dollar deal with the US government to "buy" a number of helicopters and refueling planes under Washington's policy of maintaining Tel Aviv's so-called military edge in the Middle East.

The Israeli ministry of military affairs said in a statement on Friday that Tel Aviv would buy 12 Lockheed Martin Corp CH-53K helicopters and two Boeing Co KC-46 refueling planes as part of a $3.1 billion deal signed with the United States.

The ministry statement said the deal was aimed at beefing up Israel's air force and included an option to buy six additional helicopters.

The first helicopters are due to arrive in Israel in 2026, while the refueling planes would not be delivered before 2025, with the Israeli military officials saying they were trying to bring forward the delivery of the KC-46s.

The US State Department approved the sale of up to eight KC-46 tanker aircraft and related equipment to Israel last March, marking the first time that Washington has allowed Tel Aviv to buy new tankers.

With a range of 11,830 kilometers and the capacity to carry 207,000 pounds of fuel, the KC-46 is claimed to enable refueling over 64 different types of aircraft and allow dozens of jets to remain airborne for up to 12 hours.

The United States signed an agreement in September 2016 to give Israel $38 billion in military assistance over the next decade, the largest such aid package in US history.

The tax payer money granted to consecutive Israeli regimes is a lightning rod for criticism in the US, which ultimately goes to the coffers of American arms manufacturers, but also lubricates Tel Aviv's war machine.

US military aid to Israel has skyrocketed over the past several years while the regime's forces are engaged in blatant human rights violations against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and aggression against Syria, Lebanon and other countries.

At least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza in 11 days of war back in May. Israel's airstrikes also brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished territory.

US President Joe Biden reaffirmed the US' support for Israel at that time and pledged to help it replenish its so-called Iron Dome system, resisting pressure at home to take a tougher stance against Israeli aggression.

Donald Trump, Biden's predecessor, recognized al-Quds as Israel's capital in December 2017 and signed a proclamation in March 2019 recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights, Syrian territory.

Israel has over the past decades built dozens of settlements in the Golan Heights in defiance of international calls for the regime to stop its illegal construction activities.

Syria has repeatedly reaffirmed its sovereignty over the Golan Heights, saying the territory must be completely restored to its control, while the United Nations, for its part, has time and again emphasized Syria's sovereignty over the territory.

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