Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon is passionate about the V-22, it was just something that the IDF had to have.
So even though U.S. military aid was fully earmarked, Yaalon won the Finance Ministry’s agreement to assume on more than $2 billion in commercial debt for near-term buys of the V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and other Pentagon-approved weaponry, according to Defense News.
But Yaalon is convinced the vehicle will prove its worth. The Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey is an American multi-mission, military, tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing, and short takeoff and landing capability. It combine the the versatility of a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed capability of a turboprop aircraft.
Government reluctance to go along with the pricey procurement plan was due to the fact Israel has already exhausted this year’s annual $3.1 billion in U.S. military aid, and has committed all the aid through 2018, when the current aid package expires. The funding has been allocated for the procurement of F-35I stealth fighters, transport aircraft, heavy troop carriers, and other equipment, Globes reports.
The agreement assumes that Israel will continue to receive military aid after 2018, on the basis of U.S. President Barack Obama promise of continuing support for Israel.
Defense News quotes a Washington source as saying, “‘According to our lawyers, this is not a government-guaranteed loan. The contractor is due payment by the U.S. government through the [Pentagon-administered] Foreign Military Sales [FMS] program … and we are doing our best to facilitate deferred payment arrangements.’ He acknowledged that the arrangement required ‘a leap of faith’ by all parties — not only the Israeli government — that a future bilateral 10-year military aid pact will materialize.”