Janes reports that Brazil has retired its last KC-137 tanker.   These aircraft are over twenty years old as tankers and even older as airframes. They date back to the 1960s.

Interestingly the Brazilian Air Force has selected to replace these tankers with converted airliners again. This time 767-300s and modified by IAI.  IAI has sold a tanker to based on the 767-200.

One has wonder about the 767-300 choice since Boeing is focusing on the 767-200 for the its KC-46 program.  Many people wondered if the 767-300 wasn’t the better choice as a base given its larger capacity for the multiple functions the USAF tankers perform.  The Airbus MRTT is based on an even larger A330 airframe and also performs more than aerial refueling. Brazil may have selected the -300 for the same reason.

IAI has a deal for three tankers for Brazil. The IAI offering offers hose and options and also can be delivered on a number of platforms; 707,C-130,  IL-78 and 767.  IAI claims 12 customers for its tanker conversions.  This is small, but when one considers how few air forces need tankers, this is a disruptive offering that Airbus and Boeing would rather not have in the market.

Offering air to air tanker services is not exclusive to state owned operations.  There is business being done out of Ireland by Omega Tankers.  Apparently Omega claims it can do this work at half the cost of the USAF.  Omega has old airplanes which, despite refreshes by the company, will need to be replaced.  Given the nature of its work, Omega would probably get a better deal using IAI than buying new from the OEMs.

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