The KC-767, produced by Boeing, has been described as an air refueling
as well as strategic transport aircraft. The aircraft, based on the Boeing
767-200 and with a capacity to transport more than 202,000 pounds of fuel,
has been locked in battle with Northrop Grumman and Airbus over a huge U.S.
Air Force procurement project.
This marked the second U.S. refusal of an Israeli request for military
systems in about a month. In July, the administration rejected an Israeli
request for advanced bunker-busters and underground detection systems. The
White House was also said to have denied Israel permission to use Iraq's air
space for an attack on Iran.
Officials said the request for the KC-767 -- first reported by Israel's
Channel 10 television -- was not connected to Iran. They said Israel's fleet
of Boeing 707 and KC-130 air refueling aircraft was more than 30 years old.
In August, the administration approved an Israeli request for the
deployment of the X-band early-warning radar to detect ballistic missile
launches. But officials said Israel, in the first such arrangement, would be
denied access to the X-band, which is scheduled to be operated by the U.S.
European Command at a remote location in the Negev desert.
On July 30, the Defense Department notified Congress of an Israeli
request for nine C-130J-30 air transports from Lockheed Martin in an
estimated $1.9 billion deal. Congress was expected to approve the sale of
the tactical air transport.
Israel plans to house its air transport fleet at a base in the Negev
desert. For nearly 50 years, the fleet was kept at Ben-Gurion International
Airport near Tel Aviv.