Power by the hour. Is this the solution for air forces with big operational demands and small budgets? If you ask Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), in some cases it is.
The question is now where is the line? Is there a line that cannot be crossed?
The idea was born in “the field”, when some air forces indicated that they needed advanced capabilities but cannot afford them.
Some months ago, IAI offered a number of air forces a deal that will enable them to have an aerial refueling capability on a “power by the hour” basis.
The plan is mostly based on converted Boeing 767s that will be operated either by a local airline or by Israeli pilots.
Sources say that negotiations are under way with the airforces that showed interest in the proposal.
The idea, if it “catches”, can be applied to other types of dedicated aerial platforms such as airborne early warning (AEW), but not only these.
How would an air force react to such a system operated by foreigners? Will the money shortage push aside national pride? Only time will tell but Israeli sources say that the indications “are promising”.
Operational requirements that grow steadily and budgets that decrease steadily create somewhat peculiar solutions, at least in principle.