Israel’s latest list of U.S. weapons it says it needs to fight the Hamas militants includes additional Apache attack helicopters, according to Ynet.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has requested Apache attack helicopters from the United States, aiming to bolster their aerial capabilities, according to a report.
However, as per sources within the Israeli military, the request has been met with a denial from the U.S. authorities.
The request was made to the Pentagon in recent weeks, a plea echoed by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant during discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Israel. While the final decision on this request remains pending, Jerusalem persists in its efforts to sway the decision.
The necessity for additional helicopters stems from the intensification of IDF operations, notably in Gaza, South Lebanon against Hezbollah, and in counter-terrorism efforts in the West Bank. The existing fleet of Apache attack helicopters, managed by two flight squadrons, faces a tremendous workload.
The IDF’s operational pressure has led to unconventional measures, such as recalling retired pilots beyond the accepted age limit for combat flights. Additionally, pilots who pursued careers abroad returned to serve, undergoing refresher courses before being deployed for missions.
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.
This aid has been instrumental in fulfilling the IDF’s operational needs across various fronts, securing critical advancements and establishing deterrence against adversaries. Without this support, Israel would have faced considerable challenges in advancing its objectives in the conflict.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has advocated restraint to prevent an all-out conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, emphasizing this stance despite Israel’s concerns regarding the security threat posed by the group. This pressure has led Israel to hold back on expanding the conflict further northward, despite calls within for preemptive action against Hezbollah.
The region has witnessed a heightened American naval presence, including aircraft carrier strike groups, signaling a cautious stance aimed at mitigating a broader escalation in the conflict.