Brazil Picks IAI’s K-767 MMTT as its Next Aerial Tanker
Brazil took long enough to modernize its future fighter fleet, and they’re waiting even longer to modernize another important air force capability. Their KC-137 Boeing 707 derivatives were built in the 1960s, and Brazil took delivery in 1986. In 2008, Brazil’s air force general staff (EMAER) launched the KC-X2 program to replace them – but the planes retired before a replacement contract was in place…
IAI’s K-767 MMTT
IAI says that they beat “many international companies” for KC-X2, and their cost-effective solution is already flying with Brazil’s neighbor Colombia, in a smaller and shorter-range 767-200 aircraft.
Instead of ordering new aircraft, IAI Bedek uses its commercial conversion expertise to find suitable used 767 airframes at low cost, then performs a cargo conversion. That saves a lot of money, while upgrading the planes to become Brazil’s long-range troop and cargo airlifters. Next comes installation of the aerial refueling equipment, which can be used for fighters, or to extend the reach of aircraft like their forthcoming KC-390 jet transports.
Brazil’s fighters and its future transport fleet are all standardized on probe-and-drogue refueling methods. IAI has designed and manufactured its own drogue wing pods, and are developing a new centerline fly-by-wire boom for aircraft that use dorsal refueling.
Contracts & Key Events
May 27/14: 3 planes now. Brazil will reportedly sign a revised contract with IAI, adding a 3rd K-767 tanker to the deal.
IAI Bedek will convert “at least one” of the 767s, with the rest to be adapted in the country by TAP Manutencao e Engenharia Brasil. Sources: Flightglobal, “Brazil to add third converted 767 tanker”.
Oct 10/13: KC-137s retire. Brazil officially withdraws its existing aerial tankers from service, in a ceremony at Galeao Air Force Base. Jane’s says that Brazil is still negotiating with IAI for the 767-300ER acquistions and conversions. Sources: IHS Jane’s 360, “Brazil retires KC-137 aircraft”.
March 14/13: IAI picked. Brazil’s FAB announces that they’ve picked Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to provide 2 Boeing 767-300ER aerial refueling and transport aircraft, in order to replace the FAB’s 4 KC-137s. A final contract must still be signed with the FAB, which will include industrial participation from Brazilian firms. FAB [in Portuguese] | IAI.