US to sell new aerial re-fuelling planes to Israel

In the first move of its kind, the US will sell state-of-the-art aerial refueling planes to Israel, paid for using the military aid Tel Aviv receives from America.

Israel plans to purchase eight Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft from the US to replace the Israeli Air Force’s current fleet – which includes the aging KC-130 Hercules and converted Boeing 707s – the Times of Israel reported yesterday, citing a broadcast by Israel’s Channel 12 News.

The US Airforce only received the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus aircraft earlier this year, meaning their sale to Israel will mark the first time the US has agreed to sell the technology to a third party.

Israel is expected to begin receiving the planes in the next two years, with a US Air Force lieutenant colonel explaining to Channel 12 that “just like for the US Air Force, for the Israeli Air Force [the KC-46] gives it the ability to reach out and do whatever they need to do at any time, be it humanitarian or combat operations”.

The cost of the eight aircraft is thought to exceed $1 billion, which Israel will pay for using a portion of the $3.8 billion in US military aid it receives annually.