Tankers, fighter planes, heavy helicopters ... full box for the American DTIB.
KC-46 for Israel
On February 22, the Israeli Air and Space Force officially ordered 2 KC-46 Pegasus from Boeing Defense and Space. These two tankers will be the first of a series of eight aircraft to replace nine older Boeing 707-300s Re'em tankers. The total value of this contract is estimated at $2.4 billion. The purchase was made through U.S. military channels, with financing provided by the Foreign Military Financing (FMF). The Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2018 thus provides for $3.3 billion over 10 years. The first two aircraft will be taken off the assembly line for the US Air Force.
Setbacks are piling up for the Pegasus
Assimilated from the nickname "lemon" by the U.S. Air Force, the KC-46 now faces an internal slingshot. The aircraft, whose additional cost is estimated at $5 billion for its manufacturer, still fails to make a name for itself. Its IOC (Initial Operational Capability) is expected to be at best in 2023. Ninety-four KC-46s were ordered for the U.S. Air Force (first phase of the contract), and only Japan and Israel were able to purchase them. The Air Force preferred Airbus Defense and Space's A330 MRTT or IAI's KC-767, which competed on the Israeli market.
F-35, CH-53 Yasur replacements
Also according to the Ministry of Defense, Tsahal should soon equip itself with a third squadron of F-35s. Already ordered in 50 copies, the aircraft seems to have proved its worth over the skies of Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. The Minister of Defense, Benny Gantz, would be personally involved in favor of a new order for the stealth aircraft from Lockheed Martin. The F-15EX is still attracting the interest of the Israeli military who want to have a "missile tank". However, despite the discussions advanced to date, no agreement seems to have been reached. On the helicopter side, the battle is now raging between the Boeing CH-47F Chinook and the Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion to replace the CH-53 Yasur. While the King Stallion's performance speaks for itself, its high unit cost ($120 million versus $40 million for the CH-47F) could tip the balance for the Illinois firm.
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