Simulating aerial refueling of Israeli Air force aircraft


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Aerial refueling is crucial for the long range operational capability of the Israeli Air Force (IAF). To improve this capability the IAF is evaluating the purchase of an aerial refueling simulator to answer growing operational requirements stemming from the need for this capability.

Currently, the boom operators of the IAF Boeing 707 aerial refueling aircraft are being trained onboard. They also train in a KC-10 simulator in the U.S. nevertheless, the US simulator is different in its configuration from the Israeli platform they ultimately operate.

Due to several safety incidents encountered in recent years, during aerial refueling operations, the IAF is considering the acquisition of this dedicated simulator. The hope is that it will be used to train the boom operators exclusively. The technical and operational requirements from such a simulator are being prepared now. When this is complete, the IAF will ask for proposals from simulator manufacturers.

If and when such a simulator will have been purchased, it will operate in the heavy transport training center that was recently inaugurated in the IAF’s Nevatim Air Base.

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The Israeli Ministry of Defense (MoD) has been considering a plan that will allow the leasing of Boeing KC-46A air tankers to replace the converted 707’s which are currently being used by the Israeli air force.

The current evaluation is the most recent development in the ongoing effort to give the IAF a modern aerial refueling capability.

The IAF clarified that the current KC-135 air tankers offered by the US will be evaluated only if it includes the R versions. The original US offer was based on selling 3 KC-135 E worth $200 million.

Israeli sources said that the IAF has made it clear that it prefers the R version powered by CFM-56 engines. This version is also included in the excess defense articles (EDA) program. This program allows Washington to transfer to its allies different types of military hardware for free or at greatly reduced prices. The IAF is currently using a fleet of upgraded Boeing-707 tankers. It should be noted that all the IAF’s 707 tankers were converted by Israel aerospace industries (IAI).