JERUSALEM — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel arrived in Israel on Sunday to put the finishing touches on a complicated $10 billion arms deal with three Middle Eastern countries, saying the pact sends “a very clear signal” to Iran.
Under preliminary terms of the agreement, the United States would sell tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey aircraft — which can take off like a helicopter but cruise at airplane speed — to Israel. It would be the first time that the Pentagon has approved a foreign sale of the Osprey, which can carry combat troops and is prized for its maneuverability.
The United States also would provide Israel with KC-135 refueling planes, which could extend the range of Israeli fighters and bombers so that they could be used for an attack on a country such as Iran. Israel also would acquire advanced missiles for its warplanes.
Hagel has visited Israel several times previously, including during his 12 years as a Republican senator from Nebraska, but this is his first visit since he became defense secretary in February. Hagel was narrowly confirmed by the Senate after some proIsrael groups vigorously opposed his nomination, arguing that he was insufficiently supportive of the Jewish state and too soft on Iran.