Skip to comments.Drones gain ground in Israel after Cobra helicopters cut
Posted on 05/28/2014 8:08:29 PM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
Move part of budget cuts
* More pilotless planes being used in Gaza operations
* U.S.-made Apache still in service
By Dan Williams
TEL AVIV, May 28 (Reuters) - Israel has phased out one of its two types of U.S. attack helicopter in favour of using more drones, military officers have told Reuters, reflecting a need for lighter and cheaper air power to counter Islamist guerrillas on its borders.
They said Israel's last squadron of Cobras, built for tank-hunting and eluding surface-to-air missiles, was pulled from service late last year. The decision was previously kept under wraps but disclosed in an increasingly public feud between the Defence Ministry and Treasury over budget cuts.
Israel began flying Cobras after the 1973 Middle East war, when its forces were battered by Egyptian and Syrian armour and air defence units.
With Egypt now at peace with Israel, and Syria riven by a more than 3-year-old revolt, the main threat the Jewish state faces from their territories, as with neighbouring Lebanon and Gaza, is sneak attacks by guerrilla rocket crews or riflemen.
Israel retains two squadrons of Apache helicopters which are bulkier than Cobras but equipped with wide array of weaponry that lends versatility and range to counter-insurgent operations. It also flies an undisclosed number of pilotless drones.
The Cobras were axed as part of budget cuts, a senior military officer said. "They were sort of stuck in the middle in terms of the role they could fulfil, so we decided to do without them," he told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Israel had a fleet of approximately 33 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters, according London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
(Excerpt) Read more at in.reuters.com ...
What’s the chance these cobras will be kept in mothballs until a time they may be needed sometime in the future?
The sooner they glaze over the Gaza the better.
In asymmetrical conflict they will always have a role, if the leadership is creative.
Damn good lookin’ bird.