Israel, Italy in helicopters for missiles talks

Israel is in talks to buy Leonardo’s training helicopters on condition that the Italian government will agree to reciprocal defence procurement.

In recent weeks, the Ministry of Defence has stepped up its negotiations with the Italian Ministry of Defence for the purchase of new helicopters from Italian company Leonardo. The helicopters are designated for use by Israel air force pilots course cadets. US company Bell and European company Airbus, which are also competing for the helicopters contract, have offered the Ministry of Defence their own advanced training helicopters.

The Ministry of Defence’s decision to go ahead with negotiations with Italy was taken because of a “window of opportunity” recently opened for a possible government-to-government deal between the countries, in which the Italian government will agree to reciprocal defence procurement from Israel. Leonardo wants to promote its offer to sell its new training helicopters to Israel. Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) is Leonardo’s subcontractor in the project, in which it will supply the Ministry of Defence with maintenance services for the helicopters for a 20-year period.

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