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KC-46 tanker

Israeli modernization plans include a purchase deal for modern refueling aircraft in place of the slow Boeing 707 passenger aircraft from the 1970s, which the Air Force uses to this day. The amount of fuel that the 707 can carry is limited, as is their ability to refuel several fighter jets or helicopters in parallel. Their ability to stay in the air is also relatively short. There is no dispute that modern Boeing KC-46 refueling aircraft are needed to safely return the terribly expensive pilots and fighter jets from an attack in eastern Iran.

The US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to Israel of up to eight (8) KC-46 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale March 3, 2020.

The Government of Israel has requested to buy up to eight (8) KC-46 aircraft; up to seventeen (17) PW4062 turbofan engines (16 installed, 1 spare); and up to eighteen (18) MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM receivers (16 installed, 2 spares). Also included are AN/ARC-210 U/VHF radios, APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe transponders, initial spares and repair parts, consumables, support equipment, technical data, engineering change proposals, publications, Field Service Representatives (FSRs), repair and return, depot maintenance, training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, U.S. Government and contractor representative support, Group A and B installation for subsystems, flight test and certification, other related elements of logistics support and training.

The United States is committed to the security of Israel, and it is vital to U.S. national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives. The proposed sale further supports the foreign policy and national security of the United States by allowing Israel to provide a redundant capability to U.S. assets within the region, potentially freeing U.S. assets for use elsewhere during times of war. Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies. In addition, the sale improves Israel's national security posture as a key U.S. ally. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region. The principal contractors will be Boeing Corporation, Everett, WA, for the aircraft; and Raytheon Company, Waltham, MA, for the MAGR 2K. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.

Multi Mission Tanker Transport [MMTT]

The Multi Mission Tanker Transport [MMTT] is a conversion of the Boeing 767 by Bedek Aircraft Division of Israeli Aerospace Industries. The Boeing 767 is a mid-size, wide-body twinjet airliner. IAI Bedek Division developed and converted a Multi Mission Tanker Transport configuration based on the B767 Aircraft as a low-cost yet effective competitor to the new-build Airbus A330 MRTT and Boeing KC-46. The aircraft is configured simultaneously for air refueling, cargo, VIP, passengers and ISR systems as desired by operator. A special cargo door and cargo pallet capabilities are built in. Passenger seats and consoles can be rapidly installed or removed. It could be used for refueling missions as well as soldiers and equipment transportation, and other missions.

The new version is equipped with a new Boom refueling system, in addition to the Hose & Drogue system. Having delivered a pod-equipped Boeing 767 multi-mission tanker transport (MMTT) to the Colombian air force in late 2010, IAI’s Bedek Aircraft division has now added a flying boom option to its MMTT offering. The design of the boom has been finalized and testing completed. The boom is an IAI-designed fly-by-wire (FBW) unit controlled from a remote air refueling operator’s station on the flight deck.

IAI Bedek uses its commercial conversion expertise to find suitable used 767 airframes at low cost, then performs a cargo conversion. That saves money, while upgrading the planes to become long-range troop and cargo airlifters. The low utilization rate of MMTT platforms compared to commercial passenger aircraft translates into a continued long-term service life at a considerably lower Life Cycle Cost than for new aircraft.

As part of the conversion a major part of the structure, wiring and systems are replaced, upgraded or refurbished. New engines, new military avionics including a state-of-the-art glass cockpit and new self-protection systems can also be offered, tailored to the customer’s specific requirements.

IAI also offers MMTT platforms based on converted B767-300ER. This version, with over 400,000 lbs MTOW, can carry over 200,000 lbs. of fuel, additional troops and extra cargo pallets. IAI is continuously improving and upgrading its Tanker/Transport aircraft and can offer a “Smart Tanker” version which performs additional tasks while in the air, such as: ELINT, SIGINT, and ESM, or serve as a communications hub or as a Command & Control post.

The MMTT aircraft successfully completed flight tests, including in-flight refueling of Kfir/C10 fighter aircraft, also produced by IAI. Israel Aerospace Industries’ Bedek Aviation Group is a leading supplier of aviation maintenance, repair, overhaul and conversion services on a variety of commercial and military aircraft, engines and components. Bedek provides cost-effective, total maintenance support packages through its Full Service Provider Programs. With more than 20 years of experience, IAI/Bedek's passenger-to-freighter conversion product line also includes: B737-300, B737-400, B767-200, and B747-400 aircraft.

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) delivered a converted B767-200ER (Extended Range) MMTT (which includes air refueling capabilities) to the Colombian Air Force (CAF) 04 November 2010. The contract for modernization and modification of these aircraft was signed in 2007 by more than 150 million dollars, for more than two years these works were performed on the Boeing 767. The aircraft was converted by Bedek Aviation Group to a Multi-Mission Tanker Transport (MMTT) configuration for the Colombian government and the end-user, the Colombian Air Force.

A festive toast was held at IAI's facilities next to Ben Gurion International Airport, in the presence of the Colombian ambassador to Israel, Mr. Isaac Gilinsky, pilots from the Colombian Air Force, IAI's president and CEO, Mr. Itzhak Nissan, Bedek Aviation Group's general manager, Mr. Eli Hattem and project managers from IAI. At the ceremony, Mr. Nissan said:" We are proud and honored to deliver the Air Refueling B767 to the Colombian government and it's Air Force. The B767 "MMTT" configuration was jointly defined by IAI teams and Colombian Air Force pilots and officers, to provide the best capabilities for both air refueling and transport missions. I would like to thank the Israeli Ministry of Defense for supporting this contract and the Colombian government and Air Force for their cooperation. We look forward to working with you on joint projects in the future."

The Colombian ambassador said: "Receiving the tanker is a great gift to the Colombian Air Force. It is a project of national significance and is of crucial importance to Colombia's security and defense. The tanker will play a major role in enhancing our Air Force's capabilities. We look forward to enjoying its performance in the field." Lt. Gen. Carlos Silva of the CAF said:" We're so pleased to be receiving the converted B767. It is an impressive platform with outstanding capabilities. The joint IAI/CAF effort has succeeded and borne fruit. We are proud to be working with IAI's pilots and engineers who see us as friends, rather than customers, it's a great pleasure."

The Força Aérea Brasileira ordered two IAI/Boeing 767-300ER MMTTs to replace its KC-137 fleet already decommissioned in October 2013, the base concept the Brazilians will get has been proven already by the Colombian Air Force.

According to local and foreign media reports in February 2016, Israel wanted to purchase two Boeing KC-46s for $250 million each. The first test of the KC-46 refueling an F-16 fighter jet was conducted on January 24, and a second test, on a US Navy F/A-18 aircraft, on February 10. Israel had already proved that it can make its own refueling planes, which it did when it succeeded in taking Boeing 767s and adapting them accordingly, the KC-46 planes has a slightly greater fuel capacity.

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Page last modified: 03-07-2022 15:25:59 ZULU