The United States has reportedly denied a request by Israel to acquire a new batch of Apache attack helicopters. The request from Israel comes days after Ukraine made a similar appeal for the lethal choppers.
The request for Apaches was reportedly made in recent weeks and re-emphasized by US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to Israel earlier this month, local Israeli media has reported. However, the reports fell short of specifying when the request was first made.
Citing security sources, the reports stated that the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has requested Apache attack helicopters from the United States but has been denied so far. There are currently two helicopter flight squadrons in the Israeli army. “The helicopters are required to enhance (the military’s) aerial operations,” the report noted.
Although some reports have observed that the Pentagon has categorically denied the Israeli request, some others say that a decision on the final acquisition has not been made. There was no official word from either side at the time of writing this report, and EurAsian Times could not independently corroborate these claims.
The report, however, confirms the popularity of this attack helicopter decades after it first made its combat debut. In a demand for military aid made earlier this month, Ukraine sprung a surprise by asking for big-ticket armaments like the Apache helicopters, among other things.
Experts believe Ukraine, like Israel, would not get the Apaches.
According to the military, the helicopters are necessary to improve its aerial operations against Gaza and other militias active in the region. Since Israel declared war on Hamas, who carried out a surprise attack on Israeli territory on October 7, the IDF has bombed the entire Gaza Strip. As part of its bombing campaign, it has killed more than 20,000 civilians in the narrow strip.
According to information shared on X, Israeli AH-64 Apache attack helicopters were seen engaging Hamas militants using a 30mm chain gun and Hellfire missiles.
Israeli AH-64 Apache attack helicopters engage Hamas militants with 30mm chain gun fire and Hellfire missiles pic.twitter.com/mkgMAawY30
— OSINTtechnical (@Osinttechnical) October 9, 2023
The IDF has two helicopter flight squadrons, the AH-64 Apache 190 and 113 from Boeing. When the conflict broke out on October 7, helicopters from other branches reportedly were sent to the Gaza border. Currently, the IDF is using its fleet of Apaches in Gaza for operations against targets in the West Bank and against Hezbollah in South Lebanon.
The baseline is that despite the calls for a ceasefire, the Israeli administration has refused to agree to a ceasefire. In its war against Hamas, it needs more resources, and battle-tested attack helicopters are one of the many weapon systems required to achieve the task.
The two squadrons have had an incredibly heavy task. The commander of the Air Force, Brigadier General Tomar Bar, received a request to call back retired pilots in the 54–55 age range for active duty, even though their age was higher than the standard 51 for combat flights, according to Ynet News.
Having said that, the rebuff from the United States has come as a plot twist. The denial of Apache helicopters comes amidst a significant surge in American military aid to Israel since the conflict’s outbreak. This assistance, reaching its highest level since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, includes an array of weapon systems, munitions, drones, and vital military supplies.
Anti-Israel protestors and several leaders around the world have categorically blamed the United States for aiding the bombing of Gaza since this critical military aid has been instrumental in fulfilling the IDF’s operational needs across various fronts. Without this support, Israel would have faced considerable challenges in advancing its objectives in the region.
The recent refusal to provide Apache choppers, if true, comes against the backdrop of a new narrative that suggests there is a rift between the two allies. US President Biden, for instance, issued a warning on December 12 at a fundraiser, claiming that Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” of Palestinian territory is costing it support from around the world.
US Apache Attack Helicopters Are Indispensable
Featuring a tandem cockpit for two crew members and tailwheel-style landing gear, the Boeing AH-64 Apache is an American assault helicopter with twin turboshafts. The helicopter has night vision facilitated by sensors positioned on the nose.
Under the forward fuselage, it is equipped with a 30 mm (1.18 in) M230 chain cannon. Four hardpoints on stub-wing pylons are used for weaponry and storage, which are usually Hydra 70 rocket pods and AGM-114 Hellfire missiles. It is protected against combat damage by redundant systems.
Originally flown by the US Army, the AH-64 has also been adopted by Greece, Japan, Israel, the Netherlands, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates as their main attack helicopter.
Under license, it was constructed as the AgustaWestland Apache in the United Kingdom. American AH-64s have fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Panama, and Kosovo. Israel engaged in combat in the Gaza Strip and Lebanon with the Apache.
Israel keeps two squadrons of Apache helicopters, made in the United States, at Ramon Air Base in the Negev desert.
The helicopter models and their respective names are different between these two squadrons. AH-64D helicopters are operated by the 113th Squadron, also known as Seraph, while AH-64A helicopters are operated by the 190th Squadron, also known as Peten (Cobra).
The Israeli Air Force continues to rely heavily on the Apache helicopter, which is essential to its capacity to strike a wide range of targets.
During a military operation in Jenin in June 2023, Israel used Apache assault helicopters in the West Bank for the first time in more than 20 years, underscoring the significance of this development. These formidable Apache helicopter gunships were deployed at that time to support Israeli commandos.
- Contact the author at sakshi.tiwari9555 (at) gmail.com
- Follow EurAsian Times on Google News