Pentagon announces $2.4B sale of 8 Boeing KC-46 aircraft to Israel

In this artist's conception, a Boeing KC-46A prepares to refuel an F-35 in flight. File Photo courtesy of Boeing 
In this artist's conception, a Boeing KC-46A prepares to refuel an F-35 in flight. File Photo courtesy of Boeing  | License Photo

March 5 (UPI) -- The Pentagon announced this week that the U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of up to eight Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tankers and associated equipment to Israel for $2.4 billion.

Israel would become the second international customer for the Boeing tanker, with Japan being the first.


The U.S. Air Force accepted the aircraft in January of last year, but identified problems with the faulty cargo locks, which were fixed by the end of the year.

The KC-46 tankers would replace Israel's aging fleet of modified Boeing 707s used for refueling in long-range missions that are nearing 60 years old, and they would reach Israel by late 2023.

Along with eight KC-46 tanker aircraft, Israel has requested to buy up to 17 turbofan engines, including one spare, and up to 18 navigation systems, including two spares, a Defense Security Cooperation Agency statement said.

Among other associated costs included in the $2.4 billion sale are radios, transponders, spare and repair parts, maintenance, training equipment, personnel services, flight test and certification and other logistical support.


The DSCA notified Congress Tuesday of the potential sale. Congress has the ability to block foreign military sales, but that is unlikely to happen in this case since Israel is a close ally, DefenseNews reported.

The principal contractors are Boeing for the aircraft and Raytheon for the navigation systems.

"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," the DSCA statement said. "This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives."

"Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies," the statement continued. "In addition, the sale improves Israel's national security posture as a key U.S. ally. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing the equipment into its armed forces."

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