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refueling mid-air illustration
refueling mid-air illustration

During these past several days at the LAAD Defense and Security Exhibition in Brazil (held 14-17 April) efforts are being made to conclude the sale agreement between the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Brazilian Air Force. The proposed deal is for the sale of IAI converted Boeing 767 air tankers.

IAI was chosen as the air tanker supplier as far back as 2013, but the sale has been stalled for various reasons, among them the Brazilian elections in October 2014. According to sources it was the Brazilian Air Force’s insistence that the IAI’s air tanker’s refueling capabilities is necessary to it, that brought the Brazilian government to allocate the needed budget.

The converted 767s are to replace the Brazilian Air Force’s four KC-137 (militarized Boeing 707), in operation since 1986. The configuration of the converted 767’s will be similar to that of the KC-137, with two refueling pods to refuel the current fighters operating with the Air Force. IAI is offering the Boeing 767 in a flexible configuration, comprising either a hose-and-drogue, or a boom, or both.

IAI has already delivered, in a separate transaction, one Boeing 767 tanker to Columbia. This tanker promptly received the nickname ‘Jupiter’.

One of the 767s included in the proposed Brazilian contract will be converted by the Bedek division of IAI. Work on all the other air tankers will be carried out in Brazil by TAP Manutenção e Engenharia Brasil, a TAP subsidiary. The collaboration on the conversion work, carried out under IAI supervision, is seen by IAI as part of its overall strategy of increased collaboration with local industries in Brazil.