Tel Aviv, May 28 (Reuters): Israel has phased out one of its two types of US attack helicopter in favour of using more drones, military officers have said, reflecting a need for lighter and cheaper air power to counter Islamist guerrillas on its borders.
They said Israel's last squadron of Cobras, built for tank-hunting and eluding surface-to-air missiles, was pulled from service late last year. The decision was previously kept under wraps but disclosed in an increasingly public feud between the defence ministry and treasury over budget cuts.
Israel began flying Cobras after the 1973 war, when its forces were battered by Egyptian and Syrian armour and air defence units.
With Egypt now at peace with Israel, and Syria riven by a more than 3-year-old revolt, the main threat the Jewish state faces from their territories, as with neighbouring Lebanon and Gaza, is sneak attacks by guerrilla rocket crews or riflemen.