Italy will increase its planned purchase of Boeing KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling tankers to six aircraft, up from two previously.

Rome had in its multi-year defence spending plans, released in early 2022, indicated that it would purchase a pair of Pegasus tankers and upgrade its air force’s four current KC-767A assets to the latest configuration.

Italy KC-46-c-US Air Force

Source: US Air Force

The Italian air force currently operates four KC-767A tankers

That would, it said, improve commonality for crews, maximise aircraft availability and reduce operating costs.

However, the country’s Armaereo procurement body has determined that such a plan would be impractical.

In its report assessing the feasibility of the strategy – entitled “Renewal, enhancement and integrated logistic support [of the] air force heavy multirole tanker fleet’ – it concludes that “the only feasible technical solution to ensure commonality” would be the acquisition of six KC-46As.

Although the report refers to these aircraft as the “KC-767B”, this appears to be Italy’s planned designation for the new type, which is currently being delivered to the US Air Force.

Italy should also attempt to sell the existing KC-767As back to Boeing in part-exchange for the new aircraft, it adds.

While the new Pegasus tankers and a logistic support package would be directly acquired from Boeing, the report says, additional items such as data links, mission planning systems and a self-protection suite would be purchased through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales process.