The Israeli air force is increasing its air-to-air refuelling capability by converting additional Boeing 707s into tankers. The air force recently awarded another contract to the Bedek division of Israel Aircraft Industries (IAI), for the conversion of a number of 707-300s. The contract comes a year after Bedek converted another 707-300 into a tanker.

The modification includes installation of new cockpit avionics, including a new mission computer with colour displays and advanced communication systems. Bedek says the upgrade will allow Israel to keep its 707 tankers beyond 2020.

Recently the air force started to evaluate the purchase of surplus US Air Force Boeing KC-135 tankers, in addition to acquiring more 707s. Israel already uses Lockheed Martin C-130s for aerial refuelling.

Airbus chief executive Noel Forgeard says the indirect US government support Boeing is receiving for its 767 in-flight refuelling tanker programme means Airbus will find it "very difficult" to match the US manufacturer's bid to supply the UK's Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft.

Source: Flight International