Message to Iran? Israel purchases Boeing aerial refueling tankers

A total of up to eight tankers are envisioned as part of the future fleet.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel has made its first move under the recently approved procurement program over the weekend, signing an agreement for two Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tankers.

Mishel Ben Baruch, head of the Israel Ministry of Defense Mission to the U.S., Brig. Gen. (Res.), signed a Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) for two KC-46 Tanker Jets, to be manufactured by the Boeing Corporation. In the next phase, two additional tanker aircraft will be acquired out of a total of up to eight that will make up the future fleet.

In addition to the tankers, similar processes will be launched to acquire a third F-35 squadron, heavy lift helicopters, advanced munitions and more.

The procurement programs are conducted with U.S. military channels, utilizing Foreign Military Financing (FMF).

Defense Minister Benny Gantz said, “I welcome the progress in the procurement plan, which is critical at this point in time. It is a cornerstone of the IDF’s security concept.

“I would like to thank our great friend the United States for supporting the State of Israel on all levels. We will continue to work to complete the agreements that will enable the IDF to fulfill its purpose and to move forward with the missions facing us in the various arenas, near and far, at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace.”

As part of the agreement, the tanker aircraft will be fitted with unique Israeli systems in accordance with the operational requirements of the Israeli Air Force (IAF). The first aircraft delivery is expected by the middle of this decade.

The procurement plan, based on U.S. security assistance, is crucial to strengthening the IAF and for the IDF’s QME (Quality Military Edge) in the decades to come, the IDF says.

The plan includes the procurement of a new fleet of F-35 aircraft, KC-46 refueling aircraft, helicopters to replace the “Yasur,” advanced munitions, air defense systems, marine and ground platforms, cyber systems and more.