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Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (717-148)

Photo ID 199744 by David Schmidt. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 58 0118
Strategic tanker and transport.

The Boeing KC-135 is a landmark type in military aviation. Along with five other types, the KC-135 has the distinction of serving longer than fifty years with it's original operator. Designed to replace the piston-engined KC-97, the KC-135 was needed to refuel SAC's fleet of B-52 and B-58 bombers. A common misconception is that the KC-135 is derived from the Boeing 707 airliner. Boeing's C-135 (Dash 367-80) is the progenitor for the KC-135A. From the outset, the KC-135 was designed as a tanker and not modified from an existing airframe, like many tankers. With close to eight hundred built, the KC-135 is one of the USAF's most numerous types in service.

Hauling gas is not the only task the KC-135 can perform. An out-sized cargo door and area can take palletized cargo or crew. Later modifications gave the KC hose and drogue compatibility with NATO and U.S. Navy types. Fifty six tankers were modified to Q standard and given the task of supporting SR-71 operations around the World. Inflight-refuelling was a Blackbird pilot's most demanding task, not Mach 3 flight. Structural upgrades and digital avionics will see the KC-135 fly into 2020 as the politics of acquisition play out in selecting a replacement design.
  • Country of Origin: USA
  • First Flight: 8/31/56
  • Initial Service Date: 1957
  • No. Built: 732
  • No. In Service: 478 (approx.)
  • No. of Hardpoints: 0
  • Crew: 5

Power:

4 x CFM International CFM56 turbofans at 21,634 lbf

Weapons:

The KC-135R is un-armed.

Dimensions:

Length:136 t. 3 in.
Wing Span:130 ft. 10 in.
Wing Area:2,433 sq.ft
Height:41 ft. 8 in.
Empty Weight:98,466 lbs
Max. Weight:322,500 lbs
Max. Payload:200,000 lbs
Internal Fuel:261,002 lbs

Performance:

Max. Speed:580 mph
Cruise Speed:530 mph
Service Ceiling:50,000 ft.
Normal Range:1,500 nm
Max. Range:11,015 nm

Operators:

Chile (4), France (14), Singapore (4), Turkey (8), USA (449)

Random great photos of the Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker (717-148):

Photo ID 56443 by Milos Ruza. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 61 0306
Photo ID 119730 by Thomas Ziegler - Aviation-Media. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 58 0102
Photo ID 83457 by Carl Brent. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 59 1495
Photo ID 111868 by Lukas Kinneswenger. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 62 3540
Photo ID 162158 by Carl Brent. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 58 0118
Photo ID 183147 by David Schmidt. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 57 1440
Photo ID 113005 by David F. Brown. USA Air Force Boeing KC 135R Stratotanker 717 148, 60 0315
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