Connecticut’s legislators have sent a joint letter to Israeli Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman urging that his country purchase the CH-53K King Stallion helicopter from Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. Israel’s military uses the CH-53K predecessor aircraft, the CH-53 Yas’ur, and the legislators insisted that buying the King Stallion would further strengthen ties between the American and Israeli militaries while offering an unsubtle reminder that the Israelis are set to receive $38 billion in military aid from the U.S. for fiscal years 2019 through 2028.
“As the most powerful U.S. helicopter, the U.S. Marine Corps will rely on the CH-53K to complete an array of missions on land and at sea for decades to come, as they have done successfully with CH-53 predecessors for over half a century,” the lawmakers wrote. “The strong track record of CH-53 predecessor aircraft for both our countries make us confident that the CH-53K will meet Israel’s rotary requirements for rescue operations, transport missions, and tactical troop lifts. As our strongest ally in an unpredictable region, Israel stands to strengthen our strategic partnership with the continued use of common airframes.”
The letter was signed by Connecticut’s U.S. Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Esty, Jim Himes and John Larson. Rep. Joe Courntey was the only member of the Connecticut congressional delegation not to participate in this pitch, while U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, also signed the letter.