Israeli is evaluating a converted Boeing 767 passenger aircraft as its air force’s next aerial refueling tanker.
"We have to replace our old Boeing 707 aerial refueling aircraft and we look at two main options – the Boeing KC-46A and the 767 that Israel Aerospace Industries [IAI] is converting as a flying refueling station," a senior air force source says.
The KC-46A – which Boeing is developing for the US Air Force – was originally the only platform under consideration. However, programme delays now appear to have rendered the converted 767 as a viable alternative.
The price of the KC-46A is also a factor weighing against the platform.
“We need the aerial refueling capability and we will now calculate the cost effectiveness and other factors of the two options," the IAF source says.
IAI’s Bedek division will operate a dedicated conversion line, taking former passenger 767-300ERs and turning them into its Multi Mission Tanker Transport (MMTT) configuration.
Bedek has already delivered one converted 767 tanker to Colombia, and Brazil also intends to acquire three examples to replace its air force’s four KC-137s, which have been operated since 1986.