There is life after death… at least for aircrafts. The Air Force has decided to return one of the Yasur (CH-53) Helicopter, which was removed from operational service a few years ago, to operational service after what will be a complete renovation
In the middle of the last decade, the Air Force grounded Yasur number 985 and transferred it along with other out of use helicopters to a special storage site at the Tel Nof Air Base.
As is common, the aircraft was continually dismantled over the course of its stay in storage; dozens of devices and electronic components were removed, leaving the helicopter almost naked. Now, in a rare decision, the helicopter will be returning to service.
“The need for an additional helicopter arose after the Yasur crash in Romania, where we lost six crew members and a helicopter”, says Warrant Officer Ziv, assault helicopter maintenance officer for the equipment division.
“After a series of examinations and clarifications, it became clear that the 985 Helicopter is very usable so we chose it for a unique project.”
The air maintenance unit of the Air Force will be entirely responsible for the renovation, restoration and assembly of the Yasur.
Once the aircraft is returned to its former squadron in what should be a little over a year from now, the efforts of the maintenance unit should leave the IAF with a helicopter very different from that which was left for scraps years ago. “We plan to invest in the helicopter tens of thousands of work hours of technicians, logistics people and engineers with the goal of turning it into the up to date model ‘Yasur 2025’ and allow it to serve in the corps for many more years”, says Lieutenant Colonel Ariel, head of the assault helicopter branch. “We will empty the helicopter of all its leftover wiring and devices, and will install complete systems including rotors and relays.”
At the time of this decision, the Air Force was not considering purchasing new Yasurs seeing as the helicopter manufacturer had already discontinued the manufacturing of the model that served in Israel, the CH-53D.
Additionally, renovating the old helicopter will be significantly cheaper than buying a new one.
“The cost of a new helicopter could reach tens of millions of dollars, and in our project we are talking about a few million”, says Ziv. “There is no doubt that we are talking about tremendous financial savings”.