THE US military has conducted its largest-ever bilateral training exercise with the Israeli military and showed off its most powerful helicopter to date.
The series of exercises, called Juniper Oak 23.2, took place in Israel and the Mediterranean Sea and involved the efforts of the US Navy and Air Force.
“It’s the largest and most significant exercise we have engaged in together,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.
The training has implications for global politics and was “intended to demonstrate that the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security is ironclad and enduring,” he continued.
The joint operation used “140 aircraft, 12 naval vessels, High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems, and multiple-launch rocket systems.”
One of the most impressive machines shown was the US military’s new CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopter.
The aircraft will primarily be used to transport troops and heavy equipment through different terrains and with more efficiency than older aircraft.
It is capable of lifting around 14 tons and has a mission radius of 110 nautical miles. 200 helicopters have been ordered by the Pentagon at a staggering price of $25billion.
Recently, the military demonstrated the helicopter’s lifting power when it transported a US Navy F-35 Lightning II frame that weighed 22,000 pounds.
“The F-35C and rigging weighed about 22,000 pounds after removal of its mission and propulsion systems, outer wings, and additional equipment,” read a US Navy statement.
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The CH-53K King Stallion is manufactured by Sikorsky Aircraft, an aviation company owned by Lockheed Martin.
“Ramping up production of the most technologically advanced helicopter in the world allows the US Marine Corps to build out its CH-53K King Stallion fleet and support mission success,” said Bill Falk, director of the Sikorsky CH-53K program.
Along with showing off their new hardware, the “U.S. and Israeli partners will also work together to enhance interoperability on electronic attack,” said Ryder.
“This exercise is focused on interoperability and strengthening our security relationship in terms of working together,” Ryder continued.
Instead of focusing on one threat, the goal of the training is to ensure if “we need to operate together, we can do so seamlessly.”