In an effort to persuade Israel to renew peace talks with Palestine, Washington has promised Israel a number of defence systems.
This “candy” includes KC-135 aerial tankers from the US Air Force inventory.
Given the choice, Israel would have declined this part of the proposed deal, but its hands are tied.
There are many indications that unlike the V-22 the US mentioned in the package, the KC-135 will be given as a present.
So why is Israel not happy? It’s simple: by accepting these old refuelling aircraft, the Israeli air force (IAF) will not be able to get another such aircraft it prefers – 767s converted by the Bedek division of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI)
The choice is easy – the converted 767 is much more efficient than the veteran KC-135.
Foreign air forces have realised this – the Brazilian air force has selected the converted 767-300ER, and the contract for the first conversion includes options for another two. Negotiations are under way with other airforces.
IAI is offering the Boeing 767 in a flexible configuration comprising hose and drogue pods, boom or both. The company has already delivered a Boeing 767 tanker to Colombia, where it received the nickname ‘Jupiter’.
One of the first 767s included in the initial contract with Brazil will be converted by the Bedek division, and the second in Brazil by TAP Manutenção e Engenharia Brasil, a TAP subsidiary .
The local conversion under IAI supervision is part of IAIs effort to increase its co-operation with local industries in Brazil.
IAI takes a 767 passenger aircraft and converts it to a multi-functional aircraft that serves mainly as a flying petrol station.
The IAF would have preferred to get such converted 767s to replace its ageing 707 aerial refuelling aircraft – but when the US is offering presents you have to take them.
When it’s not a present, you also don’t have a choice, as these contracts are funded by the US defence grant Israel gets every year.