Has the IAF chosen its future fighter jets and refueling tankers?

Source: Has the IAF chosen its future fighter jets and refueling tankers? – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

Israel Aerospace Industries and Boeing sign multi-billion dollar agreement

 NOVEMBER 28, 2018 21:04
Boeing 707 Re'em

According to a statement by IAI, the two signed a “strategic agreement” in which Boeing is expected to provide work packages to the leading Israeli aerospace company which would potentially amount to billions of shekels “relating to potential future Boeing sales of defense products to Israel, including new tanker aircraft.”

With a need to keep ahead of regional changes and increased threats in the Middle East, the IAF is expected to soon place orders on several new aircraft to upgrade its aging squadrons and is currently evaluating several Boeing platforms, including the KC-46 refueling tankers, F-15IA fighter jets, Chinook transport helicopters, along with V-22 tiltrotor aircraft.

Israel is involved in a decade-long “war between wars,” and its air force has always striven to achieve air superiority and freedom of activity over its regional foes.

While the IAF is said to be also considering buying used Boeing 767 commercial aircraft and converting them for airborne refueling of combat planes, Boeing is offering the new KC-46 tanker, which is also based on the commercial 767.

With a range of 11,830 km. and with the capacity to unload some 207,000 pounds of fuel, the KC-46 can refuel over 64 types of aircraft. Officials in charge of the program told reporters that while it has not yet completed testing to refuel the F-35 stealth fighter jet, it is expected to be able to do so.

The IAF is also rumored to have chosen Boeing’s F-15IA as the new fighter jet to be acquired over the next decade. According to a report in Yediot Aharonot, the purchase of the advanced jet has “already been approved by the government,” with the first aircraft expected to arrive in Israel by 2023.

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When asked by The Jerusalem Post about it, Defense Ministry officials denied the report.

With a combat range of 4,000 km., the jet can carry a payload of some 13,380 kilos such as 12 air-to-air as well as 15 air-to-ground or air-to-sea strike weapons, which are able to engage multiple targets simultaneously.

“If Boeing platforms are chosen by the IAF, it could place work at IAI worth billions of shekels,” read the statement released by IAI on Wednesday.

“IAI has for decades viewed Boeing as a strategic partner in many areas, both military and civil. The term sheet which was signed last week will further strengthen and deepen the existing cooperation between the two companies, acting in partnership and synergy in Israel and internationally in many varied fields. I am grateful to the Ministry of Defense for its assistance in reaching this agreement with Boeing,” said the chairman of IAI Harel Locker.

“Israel is a critically important market for Boeing and is a key source for state-of-the-art technology,” Gene Cunningham, vice president of Global Sales for Boeing Defense, Space and Security, told the Post in October.

According to Cunningham over $220 million is spent in Israel per year and there have been many discussions with the Defense Ministry for future deals.

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