May 30, 2014
Israeli phased out the AH-1 attack helicopter fleet due to budget cuts
Israel's last squadron of Cobras, 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 Middle East 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 Israel faces from their territories, as with neighbouring Lebanon and Gaza, is sneak attacks by guerrilla rocket crews or riflemen.
Israel retains two squadrons of Apache helicopters. It also flies an undisclosed number of pilotless drones.
The Cobras were axed as part of budget cuts.
Israel had a fleet of approximately 33 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters.
Locally made Israeli drones increasingly patrol combat zones such as the Gaza Strip. They can circle for long hours on propeller engines, beaming back video to mark ground targets or to guide troops.