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Israel inks King Stallion and Pegasus deal

4th January 2022 - 14:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Israel is buying two more KC-46A Pegasus aerial refuelling aircraft (pictured is a USAF KC-46A). (Photo: USAF/Airman 1st Class Joseph Morales)

Acquisition by Israel of up to 18 new heavy-lift helicopters and two extra refuelling aircraft will cost about $3.1 billion in FMF funding.

The Israeli MoD on 31 December 2021 confirmed it has signed a deal with the US to procure a dozen Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopters (with an option to buy six more) plus two additional Boeing KC-46A Pegasus refuelling aircraft, in a package worth about $3.1 billion.

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is in line to become the launch export customer for the CH-53K to replace its ageing CH-53D Yasur fleet. The first CH-53K helicopters are scheduled to be delivered in 2025, according to Shephard Defence Insight.

A pair of previously ordered KC-46As is expected to arrive in 2025 but Israel has been pushing the US to accelerate delivery as the IAF sizes up long-range strikes against targets in Iran.

However, Israeli lobbying has proved unsuccessful as the DoD is reluctant to dislodge the USAF from the KC-46A delivery schedule.

The procurement of the helicopters (for about $2 billion) and the tanker aircraft (about $1.1 billion) will be paid for from the $3.8 billion in Foreign Military Financing (FMF) that Israel receives from the US in an arrangement that expires in 2028.

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