Years ago, the Sikorsky CH-53 was taken out of use in the IAF. After being rebuilt, constructed, and equipped with advanced systems which granted it the title of "Sikorsky 2025", the helicopter has taken off into the skies above.
The story began in the middle of the previous decade: the Sikorsky 985 was grounded and transferred alongside other helicopters to a special storage facility at "Tel Nof' airbase. As the years passed by, many appliances and electronic components of the helicopter were stripped away, leaving it almost completely bare. A rare decision made later determined that the old helicopter will be put back to use. "The need for an extra helicopter appeared after the crash in Romania, in which we lost six crew members and the helicopter itself", says Warrant Officer Ziv, Officer of the Cargo Department in the Equipment Squadron. "After many examinations it was concluded that the Sikorsky 985 is the most efficient aircraft for our unique project".
The Maintenance Unit of the IAF was responsible for the repair and assembling work of the Sikorsky CH-53.
Why didn't the IAF purchase a new Cargo helicopter? That option was not relevant to the IAF. The helicopter's manufacturer had already ended the distribution of the specific model in Israel. In addition, the reconstruction of the Sikorsky CH-53 was much cheaper than the purchasing of a new helicopter. "The cost of a new helicopter could have reached millions of dollars and we only have a few", says Warrant Officer Ziv. "There is no doubt that we prevented major spending through a unique project".