The US state department has approved a possible foreign military sale of up to eight KC-46 aerial refuelers to Israel for an estimated $2.4 billion.
In addition to the acquisition of Boeing’s KC-46 aircraft, the deal would see Israel buy eighteen Raytheon-developed MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM receivers. Also included are AN/ARC-210 U/VHF radios, and APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe transponders.
“The proposed sale further supports the foreign policy and national security of the United States by allowing Israel to provide a redundant capability to US assets within the region, potentially freeing US assets for use elsewhere during times of war,” the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a statement.
The US approved the sale of KC-46 even as the US Air Force is still looking for ways to fix the remote vision system, which is essential for steering the boom into another aircraft’s refueling receptacle. The service expects to fix the issue by 2023-2024.
Boeing is delivering the fleet of new aerial refuelers to the US Air Force after it was selected as the winner of the service’s KC-X tanker competition in 2011. Boeing delivered the first aircraft in January 2019 and is expected to build a total of 179 aircraft.
The KC-46 multirole tanker is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe, and can refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients.