Israel expedites purchase of aircraft that will assist in attacking Iranian nuclear sites

Defense Minister Benny Gantz hailed it as an “essential move” that will “enable the IDF to face security challenges near and far.”

By Debbie Reiss, World Israel News

Israel will buy four KC-46A refueling tankers in an expedited, $927 million deal struck between Boeing and the U.S. Department of Defense, Israel’s defense ministry announced on Thursday.

The aircraft, which allows for mid-air refueling for fighter planes, underline Israel’s readiness to strike Iran, which is beyond the flight range for its stealth jets at present.

The tankers would replace the Israeli Air Force’s KC-130 Hercules and repurposed Boeing 707s that are fifty years old.

The refuelers are slated to arrive in 2025 but Israel has requested that the delivery be expedited.

Israel will also be given the option to purchase four additional KC-46 tankers in the future, according to the terms of the deal.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz hailed it as an “essential move” that is “another testament to the powerful alliance and strategic ties” between the U.S. and Israel.

“The refueling aircraft that are being purchased, along with the procurement of the F-35 squadron, helicopters, submarines and advanced munition, will enable the IDF to face security challenges near and far,” Gantz said.

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The KC-46As is able to carry 30% more fuel while consuming 30% less, Reuters reported, citing an IAF journal. “This (will) enable us to significantly enhance our flight ranges,” it quoted an IAF major as saying.

“Also, this aircraft can refuel other aircraft while being simultaneously refueled by another KC-46, a capability the (Boeing 707 refuelling plane) doesn’t have. This theoretically stretches its range to infinity”.