U.S. Approves Sale of Eight KC-46 Aerial Refueling Aircraft to Israel

The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale of eight Boeing KC-46 aerial refueling tanker aircraft to Israel, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) said in a statement.

According to the statement, the possible sale of the KC-46 aircraft and related equipment to Israel, which is being executed through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale (FMS) program, has an estimated cost of $2.4 billion. The DSCA delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on March 3.

The Government of Israel has earlier requested to buy up to eight KC-46 aircraft; up to 17 Pratt & Whitney PW4062 turbofan engines (16 installed (2 per aircraft), 1 spare); and up to 18 MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM receivers (16 installed, 2 spares).

Raytheon‘s MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM is a miniaturized airborne GPS receiver with the Selective Availability Anti-Spoof Module (SAASM) technology. The system receives, tracks and processes the GPS signal from specified antenna subsystems and provides position, velocity and time, and integrity information to the host vehicle interfaces. The SAASM technology offers increased resistance to interference and jamming.

Also included in the sales package for Israel are AN/ARC-210 U/VHF radios, APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) transponders, initial spares and repair parts, consumables, support equipment, technical data, engineering change proposals, publications, Field Service Representatives (FSRs), repair and return, depot maintenance, training and training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, U.S. Government and contractor representative support, Group A and B installation for subsystems, flight test and certification, other related elements of logistics support and training.

The principal contractors of the possible sale will be Boeing Corporation, Everett, WA, for the aircraft; and Raytheon Company, Waltham, MA, for the MAGR 2K.

Excerpt from DSCA statement:

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. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives.

The proposed sale further supports the foreign policy and national security of the United States by allowing Israel to provide a redundant capability to U.S. assets within the region, potentially freeing U.S. assets for use elsewhere during times of war. Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies. In addition, the sale improves Israel’s national security posture as a key U.S. ally. Israel will have no difficulty absorbing this equipment into its armed forces.

The proposed equipment and support will not alter the basic military balance in the region.

Boeing KC-46 Pegasus

The Boeing KC-46 Pegasus is a multirole aerial refueling tanker/transport aircraft developed by Boeing for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). The aircraft is derived from Boeing’s commercial 767 airframe.

The tanker is designed to refuel all allied and coalition military aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures and can carry passengers, cargo and patients. The first flight of the fully-provisioned KC-46 tanker took place in September 2015.

KC-46’s primary operator, the USAF, took delivery of the first aircraft earlier this year. Boeing plans to build a total of 179 of the refueling aircraft for the Air Force to replace its legacy KC-135 Stratotanker fleet.

In September last year, Boeing was awarded a contract modification, worth around $2.6 billion, by the Air Force for 15 Lot 5 production KC-46 Pegasus tanker aircraft, initial spares, and support equipment. With this fifth production lot, Boeing now is on contract for 67 KC-46 tankers. Boeing received its first two production lots, for 7 and 12 aircraft, in August 2016. The third lot, for 15 aircraft, was awarded in January 2017; the fourth lot for 18 aircraft in September 2018.

The aircraft is also ordered by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF), making it the aircraft’s first international customer. The $279 million contract for the first aircraft and logistics support was awarded to Boeing in 2017 under the U.S. Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and the $159 million contract modification for the second aircraft was awarded in 2018.

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