The Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) has commended Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for introducing legislation to have Israel Air Force pilots begin training on KC-46A refueling tankers ahead of their expected delivery to Israel in 2025.
“America needs to provide our Israeli allies with the military capabilities they need to protect themselves from an increasingly dangerous Iran. Training these pilots now will send a message to Tehran and will ensure that Israel is able to use these planes the day they receive them,” said Cotton in a statement announcing the bill on Thursday.
The early training will expedite Israel’s fielding of the aircraft and guarantee a small U.S. KC-46A presence in the Jewish state until the IDF reaches full combat capability with them.
The KC-46 Pegasus is a military aerial refueling and strategic military transport aircraft developed by Boeing from its 767 jet airliner.
The Washington-based JINSA first advocated in 2018 providing Israel KC-46A tankers in order to enhance its ability to destroy Iran’s nuclear program should it become necessary.
Following a series of JINSA briefings for State Department and other U.S. government officials, Washington approved in 2020 the sale and transfer of these aircraft to Israel.
JINSA has since briefed Cotton on the need to deliver KC-46As to Israel more rapidly, and worked closely with his office to help draft a letter that he sent last year to U.S. President Joe Biden raising the importance of the KC-46 issue in the context of the escalating Iranian nuclear threat.