Full tank please

Flying long distances to perform a precision attack is the kind of mission the Israeli airforce (IAF) may have to face sooner or later.

This week, two of the IAF’s biggest transport aircraft combined in a complex training session: aerial refuelling for heavy planes. In the training session,  C-130 aircrews and  Boeing 707 aircrews practiced this challenging and essential procedure.

The Lockheed Martin C-130  and the Boeing 707 are both a part of the heavyweight transport division of the IAF, and are both based at the Nevatim airbase in southern Israel. According to the IAF website earlier this week, the two aircraft  met for a joint exercise centered on the aerial refueling of the C-130 by the Boeing 707.

“There are missions that both C-130 planes and Boeing 707s perform, but we don’t perform them together. The main meeting between the two planes occurs in the air during refueling: when the Boeing 707 refuels the  C-130,” explains Major Ronen, Deputy Commander of the Desert Giants squadron, which operates the Boeing 707 planes.

Both aircraft are equipped for air fueling. The C-130 refuels Sikorsky CH-53 helicopters, while the Boeing 707s are responsible for refuelling both IAF fighter aircraft and C-130s.

As recently reported, the Israeli ministry of defence is currently evaluating a plan that will allow the leasing of Boeing KC-46A air tankers to replace the converted 707s used now by the IAF. This is the most recent development in the ongoing effort to give the IAF a modern aerial refuelling capability.


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