Israel has announced that it will order $2 billion of the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey planes. The purchase will be on a "deferred payment plan."
The "deferred payment plan" might be compared to a layaway provision. The payment will kick in when Israel convinces the U.S. to make the purchase part of a future aid program probably after Sept. 2018 when the present aid package expires. Up until that time Israel would pay interest and fees but not the principal on the loan. The former ambassador to Israel said that it is reasonable for Israel to assume that it has the support in Congress to eventually receive the planes as part of the US aid to Israel program.
The V-22 Osprey is a tiltrotor aircraft that has the capacity to take off and land vertically as a helicopter (VTOL) and also short takeoff and landing abilities (STOL). The aircraft combines the abilities of a conventional helicopter but with the longer range and high-speed cruising abilities of a more conventional aircraft.
The Osprey program has been costly and subject to considerable debate. To complete the planned production numbers it will cost over $50 billion. Critics complain that the costs of the Osprey are far above that of helicopters with comparable capabilities in some cases about twice the cost. The CH-53E helicopter costs about $35 million per unit while the Osprey is about $60 million according to Michael O'Hanlon.
The deal will no doubt help the US military-industrial complex. As an Israeli source puts it: The Israeli procurement of the tilt-rotor plane could influence other players in the defense procurement industry to take the gamble on the transforming plane, said the report, as well as net the US economy more than $1 billion.
The US has already provided Israel with six Ospreys as part of its present aid program.