A Sikorsky CH-53 2025 Yas’ur (S-65C-3) caught fire mid-air. The pilot performed an emergency landing west of Kibbutz Beit Kama, northern Negev desert.
The helicopter was destroyed by fire and the two pilots and eleven soldiers from the elite Shaldag commando unit escaped unhurt.
According to Scramble Magazine An Heyl Ha’Avir (IAF, Israeli Air Force) CH-53 Yas’ur crashlanded in the Negev desert in southern Israel. The helicopter (serial 042) came down near Kibbutz Beit Kama, following a technical malfunction that led to a fire in an engine.
Luckily, all occupants were able to escape the helicopter without injuries.
All CH-53s of the IAF is based at Tel Nov airbase (Israel). These Israeli workhorses are assigned to:
114sq The Night Leaders Squadron
118sq The Nocturnal Birds of Prey Squadron
Unit 669 CH-53 2000
The two operational squadrons operate the CH-53 2000 and CH-53 2025. The helicopters were acquired in 1969. By 1997, all had been updated to the Yas’ur 2000 variant, while a second extensive upgrade was known as Yas’ur 2025. The helicopters are intended to stay operational up to at least 2025. The IAF is currently evaluating the successor to the Yas’ur. This could become the CH-53K King Stallion or the CH-47F Chinook. Unit 669 is also known as the Air Force Aeromedical Rescue and Evacuation Unit.
Photo credit: Stills from “Behind the News” and JP