By Dave DeCamp
The Pentagon on Thursday signed a deal with Boeing to supply Israel with four KC-46 refueling planes needed for possible Israeli attacks on Iran, though the planes won’t be delivered until at least 2025.
The deal is valued at $927 million, and Israel is buying the planes from Boeing with funds from the $3.8 billion in military aid it receives from the US each year. Of that amount, Israel will receive $3.3 billion in Foreign Military Financing, a State Department program that gives foreign governments money to buy US-made military equipment.
Israel has the option to order four more KC-46s in the future. The deal has been in the works for a long time and Israel has previously asked the US if it could expedite delivery of the planes, but the US has declined the request. The US military would have to give up their place in line to receive KC-46s so Israel can receive the planes sooner.
Israel currently relies on aging tankers for aerial refueling, which are not expected to be capable of supporting attacks on Iran. According to that times of IsraelIsraeli jets would have to travel about 1,200 miles to strike targets in Iran, which would require either the KC-46 or a stopover in a Gulf state for refueling.
For the past year, the Israeli military has focused on preparing to bomb Iran. Israeli warplanes recently simulated large-scale attacks on Iran over the Mediterranean Sea.
The signing of the treaty comes as the US and Iran are locked in EU-brokered negotiations to revive the nuclear deal with Iran, which Israel adamantly opposes. Israeli officials have stepped up efforts to sabotage the deal and are urging the US to prepare a military option.
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