WASHINGTON – The Obama administration said Thursday that it will provide six V-22 Osprey aircraft to Israel, making it the first foreign country to receive the advanced tilt-rotor planes.
The planes can land and take off vertically by tilting their two propellers, expanding the Israeli military’s ability to conduct both long-range, high-speed troop movements into areas without runways and maritime search-and-rescue operations, officials said.
The first planes are likely to be delivered in two years and will be modified “to meet the specific requirements” of the Israel Defense Forces, a senior U.S. Defense official said.
The U.S. has long pledged to keep Israel’s military stronger than any combination of its regional rivals, a U.S. policy referred to as giving Israel a “qualified military edge.”
Since entering service in 2007, the V-22 has been used by the Marines and the U.S. Air Force in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.