The State Department has cleared Israel to purchase eight KC-46 tanker aircraft in a deal worth up to $2.4 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the approved deal in a statement today. The potential sale involves the eight Boeing-made aircraft, as well as contractor support and parts including 18 Miniature Airborne GPS Receivers manufactured by Raytheon, according to DSCA.
Beyond the benefit to the Israeli armed forces, the potential sale will "provide a redundant capability to U.S. assets within the region, potentially freeing U.S. assets for use elsewhere during times of war," DSCA's statement reads. "Aerial refueling and strategic airlift are consistently cited as significant shortfalls for our allies."
Meanwhile, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein says Boeing is making progress on issues with the KC-46 since the company's new chief executive, Dave Calhoun, took charge
"I have seen a significant change in the behavior of that company since he took over," Goldfein said today during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "That's why we're more confident that we have a serious fix on the table."
The Air Force and Boeing are negotiating details of a plan to fix a problem with the aircraft's remote visual system.
The service expects the tanker to be approved for combat by the 2023-2024 time frame.