After long delays, the Brazilian government has allocated the required budget for the purchase of three converted Boeing 767-300s that will serve as aerial tankers. The conversions will be performed by Israel Aerospace Industries.
IAI was selected for the contract in 2013, but the elections in Brazil last October had frozen the process, which remained slow even after the formation of a new government.
According to sources in Brazil, the air force increased its pressure, by claiming that the capability to refuel aircraft in the air and to also transport forces and equipment is its top priority.
The service has already retired a previous fleet of four KC-137 tankers, which were adapted from the Boeing 707, and now has just two Lockheed Martin KC-130H/M aircraft operational in this role.
At least one of the 767s will be converted by IAI's Bedek division, with the others to be completed in Brazil by TAP subsidiary TAP Manutenção e Engenharia Brasil, under its supervision. The work will include equipping the aircraft with wing-mounted hose and drogue refuelling pods.
Brazilian sources say they already have the tail numbers of the three 767s that will be converted. After the contract is signed IAI will purchase the aircraft and begin the conversion process.
IAI declines to comment on the fact that the programme has received the green light from the Brazilian government.