Brazil may be dithering about its future fighter fleet, but they’re taking steps to modernize another important air force capability. On March 14/13, 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. Those Boeing 707 derivatives were built in the 1960s, and Brazil took delivery of their KC-137s in 1986. In 2008, Brazil’s air force general staff (EMAER) launched the KC-X2 program to replace them. 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 improving the aircraft’s capabilities as Brazil’s long-range troop and cargo airlifter. 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. IAI has developed a flying boom for the centerline, and has designed and manufactured its own wing pods for hose-and-drogue refueling. A final contract must still be signed with the FAB, which will include industrial participation from Brazilian firms. FAB [in Portuguese] | IAI.