Israel boosts long-range strike capability with US deal — Analysis

Tel-Aviv signed a contract with the US to purchase new military equipment, which includes two KC-46 tanksers.

Israel reached an agreement with Washington’s allies to buy twelve Lockheed Martin helicopters along with two Boeing refueling aircrafts. Its total cost was estimated at around $3.1 million.

On Friday, Israel’s Ministry of Defense confirmed its deal with the US to enhance its military capabilities throughout the next decade. Two Boeing KC-46 Air-to-Air refueling aircraft and 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K Helicopters are expected to arrive in Israel by 2026. 

According to a ministry statement, six helicopters are still available for purchase. However, Brigadier-General Shimon Tsentsiper was the chief of materiel and spoke on Thursday to Israel’s Army Radio, saying that he hoped four KC-46s were added. 

Tsentsiper stated that Israel was looking to accelerate the delivery of the KC-46s. These aircraft would replace an aging fleet. 

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Current air-to–air refueling fleets are more than 50 year old. They were built using the Boeing 707. While they’re still flightworthy, the new tankers would provide greater range and mobility. 

The media speculate that new refueling facilities would prove vital to maintain a credible strike force against arch-foe Iran. Tsentsiper argued that the fleet’s current capabilities are sufficient.

 Nonetheless, a former Israeli Air Force commander last year warned the military “Urgent” needed the new planes, saying “there is no country in the world that flies platforms that are this old.”

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