As plans for a possible military option against Iran’s nuclear plan move forward, the US has rejected an Israeli request to expedite the delivery of two tanker aircraft ordered by Israel, according to latest report .
According to Defense Ministry sources, senior Israel Air Force (IAF) officers requested in October that the delivery of four KC-46 tanker aircraft from the United States be expedited, with two of the aircraft being delivered immediately.
The officers requested that the remaining two be provided within the next two to three years.
The IDF hopes to convince the US over the next year.
Last March, the US State Department approved the possible sale of up to eight KC-46 tanker aircraft and related equipment to Israel for an estimated cost of $2.4 billion, marking the first time Washington allowed Jerusalem to purchase new tankers.
Israel was scheduled to receive two of the Boeing-made planes by late 2023, and during former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s most recent visit to Washington, he raised the issue of supplying two of the eight tankers within the next year.
The KC-46 tankers will replace Israel’s Ram (Boeing 707) tanker aircraft that are required for long-range missions and nearing the age of 60.
The new KC-46 tankers can refuel jets with 1,200 gallons of fuel per minute thanks to their 55-foot fly-by-wire refueling boom. It can also have wing air refueling pods, which allow three jets to be refueled at the same time in three to four minutes.
With a range of 11,830 km., with the capacity to unload some 207,000 lbs. of fuel, the KC-46 can refuel over 64 different types of aircraft.
Such refueling aircraft would be essential for a strike on Iran, as a mission against Iran would require a thousand kilometers of travel in each direction.
During a recent visit to the US, Defense Minister Benny Gantz updated American officials that he had set a deadline for when the IDF will need to complete preparations for an attack against Iran.
According to a senior diplomatic source, the US had no veto over Israel’s plans.