Israel is set to buy gas-electric drivetrains for the military.
The first of these will be powered by Russian diesel engines and will be ready for use by 2020, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Thursday.
Yaalon noted that Israel already had four diesel engines for the Iron Dome air defense system.
He said that Israel has also purchased a diesel-electric version of the M-50 assault rifle, as well as an assault rifle and machine gun.
Yaakov Amidror, a senior military analyst at the Herzliya Institute for Strategic Studies, said that the diesel-powered version of Israel’s assault rifle would be similar to the M50.
Yaaron did not disclose the price, but sources familiar with the deal said that it would cost more than $200 million, and that the engines would be imported from Russia.
Yaacov, who served in the military for nearly 30 years, did not say whether the engines will be built in Israel or abroad.
But he said that in the future, the army will consider importing diesel engines from outside the European Union, and there is no reason to expect that this will not happen.
“The next step in the process will be to start to manufacture them,” Yaacon said.
“I am optimistic that by 2020 they will be available in the market, and the country will be able to produce them.”
The announcement came a day after Israel’s defense minister said that his government is considering importing diesel-engine-powered military vehicles from Russia, which are already being produced by the country.
The ministry is also considering importing the Russian-made diesel-diesel-electric vehicles.
“We will soon start to work on building them, but they will take time,” Yaakov said.
The diesel-engines will be produced by Russia’s State Engine and Equipment Company.
The Russian government has long been a major player in Israel’s gas-dependent industry, and in recent years, Russian state-owned gas giant Gazprom has been increasing production of its gas-based fuel, which is used for both domestic and export applications.
Israel has previously bought the Russian engines, which have been exported to other countries.
The M-30 light tank destroyer and the M80 light tank are among the vehicles that Gazprom is using to build the diesel engine for the M60 heavy tank destroyer, which will replace the M70 tank destroyer in the Israeli Navy.
In addition to its M-90 light tank, Israel also purchased the Russian diesel-sourced M-60 tank destroyer for use in its Iron Dome rocket defense system, and is also planning to use the Russian engine in its heavy armor.
The decision to import the engines from Russia is the latest in a series of moves by Israel’s government to boost its dependence on Russian gas.
The government has been pushing for the country to export gas, as the cost of importing gas from Russia has dropped dramatically over the past decade.
Since the end of 2014, Israel has purchased nearly 6 million cubic meters of gas, down from a peak of about 10 million cubic feet in 2013.
In 2014, Gazprom began purchasing Russian gas to supplement its supply.
Gazprom purchased the new Russian-engineed M60 light tank ship from the Russian company Kaliningrad Shipyard in August of that year, while the M30 light armored vehicle was built in late 2016.
In December, Israel purchased the M120 light tank from the shipyard.
Earlier this year, Israel bought the M35 light tank vehicle from the same shipyard, and has since begun to purchase other Russian-built armored vehicles.
The gas purchases are a sign that Israel is preparing to expand its reliance on Russian supplies as it seeks to reduce its dependence.
“This move by Israel, if confirmed, is part of a long-term strategy to diversify its gas consumption,” said Dan Halpern, a Gazprom analyst.
“It is a sign of the government’s determination to increase the consumption of gas by diversifying its consumption, rather than to rely on imports.”
Yael Aloni, a former Israeli foreign minister, said in March that Israel will likely buy gas from the state-run Rosneft as it looks to diversifying away from its dependence of Russian gas and toward gas exports.
In January, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he is open to purchasing Russian-supplied gas.
“In a number of areas, it’s possible to diversified.
I think the Israeli government will consider it, I think it will decide,” he said.
Israel also recently began exporting Russian gas for domestic use, but this is a relatively new program.
Israel began exporting gas to Israel in 2014 and has begun exporting gas for export.