Report: Israeli Request for Expedited Delivery of Refueling Jets Rejected by U.S.

YERUSHALAYIM -
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin welcomes Defense Minister Benny Gantz (L.)  during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Thursday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The Biden administration has rejected Israel’s request to expedite delivery of two KC-46 refueling jets out of four purchased, which would facilitate an IAF flight to attack Iran, Yediot reported.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken late last week for talks on the Iranian nuclear threat.

Gantz reportedly told his hosts that Israel was preparing for a military response.

The ministerial committee for military procurement decided on the purchase of four refueling jets as part of the military’s preparations.

The initial decision to purchase the jets was made two years ago, during the tenure of Avigdor Liberman as defense minister, but was not advanced due to the internal political turmoil.

The Boeing jets would allow dozens of Israeli bombers to remain airborne for up to 12 hours at a range of over 11,000 kilometers (6835 miles). They are critical to any operation against Iran – which is more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) away from Israel’s borders.

They are due to be delivered in four years and replace the IAF’s 50-year-old planes.

Sources in the military said the IDF was still hopeful the U.S. would later agree to speed up the delivery of two of the jets.