JERUSALEM, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Air Force has selected Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) for a large-scale aerial refueling project, according to a company statement released on Sunday.
The statement did not divulge the impending contract's estimated worth. It said that IAI will reconfigure several Boeing 767-300s into multi-mission aircraft capable of airborne refueling, strategic troop and cargo transport, and medical evacuation.
The Brazilian Air Force reported on its website over the weekend that it has chosen IAI's proposal over many other international companies that competed in the tender, with the contract's details expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. Several Brazilian industries will also be involved in the program as subcontractors, IAI said, adding that it will showcase its aerial refueling technology at the LAAD Exhibition that will kick off in Rio de Janeiro on April 9.
Joseph Weiss, President and CEO of IAI, stated: "We are very pleased to have won the bid ... we see the Brazilian Air Force as a very important and strategic customer."
IAI had previously been awarded similar contracts by the Israeli and Colombian air forces to reconfigure commercial aircraft into midair refueling tankers for military use. Such planes are considered crucial for Israeli airstrikes on strategic targets that are reportedly periodically conducted far beyond the country's borders.
The Brazilian Federal Police deploy IAI-produced unmanned aerial vehicles for surveillance flights over the vast expanses of the Amazon rainforest, in anti-drug smuggling operations and to spot illegal uprooting of trees.