In light of the recent developments in the Iranian nuclear deal, the Obama administration has removed restrictions to sell the Boeing KC-46 Pegasus, an aerial refueling and military transport aircraft, to Israel.
One of the most important muscles in the long-reaching arms of the IAF (Israeli Air Force) is their aerial refueling fleet, which provides a vital opportunity for the Israelis to reach out a greater distance or to simply keep their aircraft up in the sky for longer periods of time.
The Israeli approach to defense requires a long reach, the ability to strike from a great distance. The Israelis look to eliminate perceived threats before they have a chance to mature, for example, the infamous strike of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, or during Operation Wooden Leg in 1985, in which Israeli F-15s relied on heavily modified Boeing 707 aircraft to provide aerial refueling over the Mediterranean Sea, extending their range to 2,000 kilometers and allowing them to strike a PLO headquarters in Tunisia.
The opportunity to purchase these new aerial-refueling aircraft is a welcome one: The IAF still uses the Boeing 707 “Oryx” as their aerial-refueling platform. Production on the 707 ended in the ’70s, while the production of the military variants ended sometime in the ’90s. Yes, that’s how old our Oryxs are. They probably lack many of the optical/electronics that most modern airplanes have, and are probably a bitch to maintain. It’s also known in the IAF that one of the Israeli Oryxs in current use was taken from the Egyptians. Yes, it’s that old.