The Israeli air force will soon receive another Boeing 707 modified to a tanker configuration, as part of a strategic effort to enhance its aerial refuelling capability.
Israel had planned to purchase the same tanker selected for the US Air Force's KC-X requirement, but has decided to convert more 707s to the role due to selection delays. "The 707 tanker fleet is the right solution for the coming years," says one Israeli defence source.
The additional aircraft will be rolled out soon, with its conversion being performed by Israel Aerospace Industries.
At one point the air force evaluated the conversion of Boeing 767s for the tanker role, but concluded that a two-fleet solution would be too expensive.
The service last year began to equip its 707 "Reem" fleet with new glass cockpits as part of a life-extension programme for the type. The Honywell cockpit includes six multi-function displays, new communications equipment and a global air traffic management system. It also replaces an Israeli-made refuelling boom with the same design used by the USAF's KC-135 tankers.