IDF AH-64 Apache attack helicopter
IDF AH-64 Apache attack helicopterOfer Zidon/Flash90

In recent weeks, Israel has requested that the US provide fighter helicopters to reinforce the IAF's fleet - but the request was refused, Yediot Aharonot reported.

According to the report, the defense echelon believes that the US' refusal is not final, and continues to apply pressure, for the purpose of expanding the number of Apache helicopters in the service of the IAF.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant (Likud) spoke about the matter with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin during Austin's most recent visit to Israel.

Currently, the IAF operates two squadrons of fighter helicopters, which have been operating in Gaza 24/7 since the start of the war.

According to the report, the burden on the squadrons is so great that IAF commander Tomer Bar was asked to allow a number of veteran pilots, in their 50s, to return to service, even though they are older than what is permitted for operational flights.

The US aid to Israel is considered to be the greatest the US provided since the Yom Kippur War, and includes ongoing supplies of hundreds of thousands of weapons.