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Israel to buy four air refuelling planes from the US for $927m

September 2, 2022 at 3:52 pm

Air refuelling plane [Robert Sullivan/Flickr]

Israel will purchase four Boeing KC-46A refuelers for its air force, in a deal valued at $927.5 million, the Israeli government and a US defence contractor announced yesterday.

First deliveries of the aircraft, which will replace Israel’s ageing fleet of Re’em Boeing 707 tankers, are expected to roll out in 2025.

Under the terms of the contract, Boeing will also provide tanker services support, maintenance and repairs, logistics and fleet spares to the Israel Air Force fleet (IAF).

“This contract further strengthens the US-Israel alliance and continues the decades-long relationship between Boeing and the Israeli Air Force,” said Ido Nehushtan, President of Boeing Israel.

“The KC-46A will benefit Israel’s efforts to ensure national security and regional stability,” he said.

According to a press release from Boeing, the KC-46A refuelling aircraft is already in use by the US Air Force, which has purchased 179 aeroplanes of this model. Israel will be the third country to acquire the refueler, after the Japanese Air Force purchased two KC-46As, Boeing said.

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Israeli officials have described the tankers as important for planning military operations that could potentially include a long-threatened attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, reported Ynet News.

It comes after the White House said in a statement that President Joe Biden informed Israel Prime Minister, Yair Lapid, during a call on Wednesday that the US will never allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon.

In its own statement regarding the call, Lapid’s office said they “spoke at length about the negotiations on a nuclear agreement and their shared commitment to stopping Iran’s progress towards a nuclear weapon”.

Israel rejects the revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, while Biden has promised to revive the Agreement, while ensuring the security of Israel, Iran’s regional arch-enemy.

Israeli Defence Minister, Benny Gantz, thanked the US Defence Department for the additional refuelling aircraft. He said, “Together with the purchase of the new F-35 squadron, the cargo helicopters, the submarines and advanced munitions, they will serve the Israel Defence Forces in the face of the huge challenges, near and far, that are before us.”