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.