Israel donates helicopters to Jordan for protection against Islamic State

The Israeli Air Force's U.S.-made Cobra helicopters, which it renamed Tzefa. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.

( Israel has donated retired American-made Cobra attack helicopters to Jordan’s air force in order to help the country defend itself against the Islamic State terror group.

“These choppers are for border security,” a U.S. official told Reuters.

The Israeli Air Force once had two Cobra squadrons (it renamed those helicopters Tzefa), with one being decommissioned in the mid-2000s and the other in 2013. Those squadrons were retired in favor of the more advanced U.S.-made Apache helicopters.

Manufactured by Bell Helicopter, the Cobras are single-engine attack helicopters that made up the backbone of the U.S. Army’s helicopter fleet during the Vietnam War and through the 1990s. 

Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994 and maintain close government-to-government ties. Recently, with the Syrian civil war threatening to spill over into both countries, the Israeli- Jordanian relationship has grown closer, with Israel sharing intelligence and quietly aiding Jordan’s military.

Posted on July 23, 2015 .