The US State Department on Tuesday approved the sale of up to eight Boeing KC-46 aircraft and related equipment worth an estimated $2.4 billion according to a statement released by the Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA).
In addition to the aircraft, Israel requested up to 17 Pratt & Whitney PW4062 turbofan engines and up to 18 MAGR 2K-GPS SAASM navigation systems. Also included are AN/ARC-210 U/VHF radios, APX-119 Identification Friend or Foe transponders, spare and repair parts, maintenance, training, and other related support. The principal contractors are Boeing for the aircraft and Raytheon for the MAGR 2K systems.
— Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 23, 2020
“The proposed sale further supports the foreign policy and national security of the United States by allowing Israel to provide a redundant capability to US assets within the region, potentially freeing US assets for use elsewhere during times of war,” the DSCA said.
“Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies.”
World Israel News explained that should the sale go through, then the mid-air refueling aircraft will be paid for by Israel from the annual $3.8 billion annual financial aid it received from the US. Israel currently relies on an aging fleet of heavily modified Boeing 707s, which have been modified by Israel Aerospace Industries for aerial refueling. Tel Aviv can expect to receive the new jets in 2023 should the deal pass Congress.
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“US relations with Israel are not governed by the kind of political wisdom that is predicated on mutual benefit,” wrote Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud.
“But they are not entirely irrational either, as the American ruling classes have aligned their interests, their perception of the Middle East and their country’s role in that region with that of Israel, thanks to years of media and official indoctrination”, Baroud added.
(Palestine Chronicle, MEMO, Social Media)