(February 23, 2021 / JNS) Israel formally approved plans over the weekend to procure two KC-46 Pegasus tanker jets, the government announced on Monday.
The Letter of Offer and Acceptance (LOA) signed by Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. (res.), Mishel Ben-Baruch kicks off a $9 billion procurement drive approved by Israel’s Cabinet on Feb. 7. The aircraft, the first of a planned fleet of eight, are to be manufactured by the Boeing Corporation but fitted with unique Israeli systems in accordance with the operational requirements of the Israeli Air Force.
LOAs are government-to-government agreements that specify the items and services to be provided, in addition to estimated costs and the timeframe for doing so.
The first KC-46 is expected to arrive in Israel by 2025. The cost of the tanker fleet is estimated at $2.4 billion.
Future acquisitions under the procurement program will include a third F-35 squadron, heavy-lift helicopters—which will replace Israel’s current CH53 “Yasur” fleet—advanced munitions, air-defense systems, marine and ground platforms, cyber systems and more, the Israeli government confirmed.
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz welcomed the agreement, which he called “critical at this point in time.”
The IDF procurement plan “is a cornerstone of the IDF’s security concept,” said Gantz, who thanked “our great friend the United States” for supporting Israel “on all levels.”
Israel would continue to work on agreements with the United States to enable the Israeli military to “move forward with the missions facing us in the various arenas, near and far, at sea, in the air, on land and in cyberspace,” said Gantz.
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