Israel asks United States to 'swap' two of their KC46 tankers


Staff member
Israel asks United States to 'swap' two of their KC46 tankers
Jerusalem wants two tankers by next year instead of 2023
JULY 8, 2020

Despite not having signed a Letter of Approval with Boeing for the company’s KC-46A tanker program, Israel has asked the United States to advance the acquisition of two out of eight tankers that are required for long-range missions. Israel was set to receive two of the Boeing-made planes by late 2023 and at least another two at a later date. But while Israel has not yet officially signed a Letter of Approval, during a discussion on Wednesday between Jerusalem and Washington, Israel asked that it be given two planes which were earmarked for the US Air Force by next year and that the USAF takes the two planes that were to be given to Israel in another two years.

According to sources, the call was made after Israel’s aging tanker fleet was grounded last year. In March the US State Department approved a possible sale of up to eight KC-46 tanker aircraft and related equipment to Israel for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion, marking the first time that Washington has allowed Jerusalem to buy new tankers. The congressional approval of the sale follows a Letter of Request (LoR) submitted by Israel in May 2019. The KC-46 tankers, which will replace Israel’s Ram (Boeing 707) tanker aircraft that are required for long-range missions and nearing the age of 60. Israel’s fleet of Ram planes, the number of which remains confidential, are former civilian aircraft adapted for military uses such as aerial refueling for fighter jets, as well as its fleet of transport aircraft.

With a range of 11,830 km. with the capacity to unload some 207,000 pounds of fuel, the KC-46 can refuel over 64 different types of aircraft including the F-35 stealth fighter jet and the F-15 fighter. On Monday the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency in an official notification to Congress announced that Israel will receive 990 million gallons of diesel, gasoline and jet fuel at a cost of $3 billion. The cost of the fuel will be covered by US aid money given to Israel and vendors will be selected “using a competitive bid process through Defense Logistics Agency Energy for supply source,” the statement released on Monday said. ”The proposed sale of the JP-8 aviation fuel will enable Israel to maintain operational aircraft. Diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline will be used for ground vehicles,” read the statement. ”The proposed sale will improve Israel’s ability to meet current and future threats in order to defend its borders.”