The US State Department has approved a possible sale to Israel of up to eight KC-46 aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale today, this is displayed below.
“The Government of Israel has requested to buy up to eight (8) KC-46 aircraft; up to seventeen (17) PW4062 turbofan engines (16 installed, 1 spare); and up to eighteen (18) MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM receivers (16 installed, 2 spares). Also included are AN/ARC-210 U/VHF radios, APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe 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 total estimated program cost is $2.4 billion.
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.”
The proposed sale comes despite delays in the programme. The main question is about the viability of its refueling function. The US Air Force has found significant problems with the KC-46’s remote vision system, essential in trying to line up and attach the refueling boom to the aircraft seeking to fill up its tanks.
The first KC-46 was delivered to the US Air Force a year ago and the service has ordered 179 of the planes. Israel is the second country to be approved for the KC-46 and Boeing is building two of the aircraft for Japan.