Israel will buy six V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Thursday night in a speech to the Anti-Defamation League.
Israel would be the the first foreign country to acquire Ospreys.
Hagel has directed the Marine Corps to expedite the order, meaning Israel will acquire the aircraft from the next order to go onto the assembly line and the Marine Corps will recoup its aircraft at a later date. Hagel also said Israel’s Osprey’s will be compatible with Israel’s other defense capabilities. The Pentagon anticipates Israel will begin taking delivery of its Ospreys, which will be modified to meet specific Israeli military requirements, in about two years.
The Ospreys will give Israel’s military “long-range, high speed, maritime and search and rescue capabilities” to deal with “threats emanating not only from Iran, but also stemming from the civil war in Syria, recent instability in the Sinai, and maritime challenges facing Israel,” a senior defense official said.