Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMOD) announced Thursday it will purchase seven training helicopters from Italian defense contractor Leonardo in a multi-billion-dollar deal.
Media reports estimated the deal to be worth $350 million and include 20 years of aircraft maintenance from Leonardo. The Italian Defense Ministry undertook to buy an equivalent value of Israeli military technology.
The Italian-made AW-119 training helicopters will replace the Israeli Air Force’s current Bell 206 training aircraft, which it bought in 1970.
The two countries reached a similar reciprocal procurement deal for trainer jets in 2012 when Israel purchased 30 Aermacchi M-346 jets, known in the IAF as the Lavi, from Leonardo for $1 billion. Rome, in exchange, purchased an equivalent value of Israeli aerospace technology, including satellites and surveillance planes.
[Source: The Times of Israel]
In the photo: Illustration of the new helicopter, courtesy of IMOD